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Fracking and Water

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.


Food and Fracking: PHP Food Justice Webinar

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.

Water concerns


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.

Read an article from June 2013 Presbyterians Today magazine, “Polluting Our Baptismal Waters.”

Learn more about water


  • Presbyterian Hunger Program focuses on poverty and hunger alleviation and economic justice concerns that include water concerns, particularly the recent drought.

Initiative for Clean Water and to Reduce Disposable Water Bottles


Incorporate a practice of prayerful mindfulness into your daily life. Notice when, where and how you encounter water. Say a prayer of thanks for easy access to clean, safe water where you find it. Say a prayer for water justice when you encounter water that is unclean, not shared or used unwisely.

Learn about the experiences of Joining Hands partners regarding extractives and the environment.

Join the “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign (www.thinkoutsidethebottle.org) by taking the pledge, or make your own pledge to drink public tap water and forego bottled water. Purchase a reusable nonplastic or BPA-free plastic bottle (like one with PW’s logo, which can be ordered from PDS at http://store.pcusa.org). Fill with water and carry with you when you exercise, hike or travel. You can take the empty bottle through airport security and fill it with tap water on the concourse. 

Contact the Presbyterian Hunger Program for more information ~ php@pcusa.org

Ecumenical Resources on Water (Worship, Education, Other)