Fracking and Water Concerns
Hydraulic water fracturing, often called fracking, is under great discussion, in congregations, in camp and conference centers, and in Presbyterians' own lives and on their property. Presbyterians hold widely varied opinions on this issue.
The General Assembly of 2012 asked for Environmental Ministries to develop resources to study the issue, particularly any legal resources available. Below is the beginning sample of resources and links. Presbyterians continue to study and discern this issue. We pray for guidance and turn to scripture, Reformed tradition, our Confessions, and PCUSA policies. The General Assembly 2014 passed a policy to study the Precautionary Principle, which encourages thoughtful and cautious engagement with any new technology, such as fracking.
Lynna Kaucheck from Food & Water Watch and Bobby King from the Land Stewardship Project explore this critical topic of how modern drilling and fracking impacts food, farmers, rancher and land use in the United States. Hear about how people and communities are resisting. Watch now.
Learn More about Fracking
- The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists held a Lewis M. Branscomb Forum in Los Angeles at UCLA. The topic was "Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking." This two and a half hour presentation is now available on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgpdMH6Ftss&feature=youtu.be. (An outline of the schedule of this event, to follow along the recording, is available here.)
- Listen to various perspectives on NPR's July 2013 Diane Rehm show with guests Steve Everley (spokesman for Energy in Depth, a research and education program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America), Josh Fox (founder and producing artistic director of the International WOW Company and writer/director/producer of three feature films, including "Gasland"), and Abrahm Lustgarten (reporter at ProPublica).
- A pro-fracking response to the movie "Gasland" (which opposes fracking) is a movie called "Truthland." Groups may want to view both films and discuss.
- FracFocus is the national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry: fracfocus.org.
- National Resources Defense Council, a research and advocacy group that argues against fracking, has compiled information supporting their stance here. Food and Water Watch, also hoping to ban fracking, argues against it here.
- Fracking and Food: The expansion of modern drilling and fracking across the country has resulted in environmental and public health problems and created serious risks to underground water resources, all of which affect farming and our food. Learn more about the connection between fracking and the food system below.
- Fracking and the Food System
- How Fracking Impacts Local Food
- The Surprising Connection Between Food and Fracking
- Food Supply Dangers from Fracking
- Fracking Our Food Supply
- Chefs for the Marcellus: Fracking in the News
- Fracking with our food: how gas drilling affects farming
In addition to studying how hydraulic water fracturing is implicated in the production of energy, other water concerns are also of great concern to Presbyterians.
In Scripture, in the baptismal font, and even in the cups that grace our tables, water is a gift from God. Water is also a right for all people on earth. Knowing that water is powerful, both life-giving and destructive at times, we praise God for the gift of water as we work to provide clean water throughout creation.
Learn More about Water
- Read an article from June 2013 Presbyterians Today magazine, "Polluting Our Baptismal Waters."
- Games and resources for kids on variety of issues are found at www.presbykids4kids.org.
- Congregational Ministries Publishing has created a website about Wetlands, in support of the Presbytery of Southern Louisiana's efforts at Wetlands education, restoration, and preservation.
- Joining Hands Against Hunger: Bolivia network, which addresses many water issues, and extractive industries. Learn about the experiences of Joining Hands partners regarding water pollution and privatization - http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/joininghands/water-privatization-and-pollution
- Just Living piece, Sustaining Waters, on good water stewardship.
- Living Waters for the World provides water purification systems and health education to communities around the world.
- Ecumenical and other resources for worship and education:
- United Church of Canada, Water resources, including links to curriculum from 2005: “Waters of Life: Issues, Ethics, and Actions” by David Hallman, and many other resources.
- United Church of Canada, Waters of Creation worship resource
- Living Waters for the World, Worship Resources
- Church World Service Worship, Worship Resource on water
- Church World Service Worship, Seven Weeks for Water (land and water; oil and water; commodification of water; women, water and violence; water conflict in the Holy Land; climate change refugees; water for Guatemala’s landless)
- World Council of Churches, Ecumenical Water Network
- United Nations, World Oceans Day June 8
- United Nations, World Water Day March 22
- United Nations, UNICEF Tap Project
- Great Lakes interactive resource
- Discover the hidden connections between food, water and energy in your everyday life, in the economy, and in society as a whole in the Nexus Guide: How Food, Water and Energy are Connected.