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Martin Sheen's 'Breakthroughs' to look at fracking issue

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2013

From Environment America today:

 

New York, NY— This week, Martin Sheen’s Breakthroughs program released an expose on fracking featuring Environment America to public television stations across the country. As the debate over dirty drilling continues to mount, the Breakthroughs piece could reach as many as 60 million viewers in all 50 states.

“Fracking is taking a terrible toll on our environment and our health,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America. “People should see and hear the truth before they find themselves living next door to dirty drilling.”

Shot on location in Pennsylvania – epicenter of the fracking frenzy – the Breakthroughs segment features

  • A Pennsylvania family whose well water was contaminated and whose granddaughter living with them became ill after fracking operations commenced nearby;
  • Dr. Poune Saberi, who has examined health data from residents and workers nearby fracking operations and believes that the numerous, documented cases of residents becoming ill near drilling are likely “the tip of the iceberg;” and
  • Lou Allstadt, former Executive Vice President of Mobil, explaining why he now sees fracking as inherently fraught with environmental destruction.

While the piece narrated by Mr. Sheen will be exclusively aired on public television stations, a longer unofficial version is available at the Environment America website.

With cases of water contamination and residents getting sick, along with other environmental damage, Environment America and its state affiliates are working to ban fracking, including keeping fracking out of new states like New York, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Maryland. While public opinion is starting to turn, with 49% of Americans now saying they are opposed to more fracking according to a new Pew poll released this September, Environment America cites the well-heeled public relations and lobbying efforts by the oil and gas industry as a key influence in fracking’s quick expansion across the country despite clear environmental threats.

“Today Breakthroughs has provided a small dose of the much-needed antidote to millions of dollars spent by the oil and gas industry to make this dirty drilling appear “clean” in the public’s mind,” said Rumpler.

At the federal level, the Breakthroughs exposé comes as the Obama administration considers a rule for fracking on public lands, and as the oil and gas industry is seeking to expand fracking to several places which help provide drinking water for millions of Americans — including the White River National Forest in Colorado and the Delaware River Basin, which provides drinking water for more than 15 million Americans.

“When you listen to people living on the frontlines of fracking, health professionals, and even former industry executives, a clear warning sign emerges,” concluded Rumpler. “It’s time to stop the fracking frenzy before it’s too late.”

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.