Faith leaders join the fight against fracking by Robert White, January 29, 2013
In New York, the attention of many faith leaders and communities is focused on the imminent danger to our land, air, water and health posed by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” We join with other concerned citizens — doctors, business owners, farmers, chefs, artists, mothers and teachers — to organize and oppose this dangerous natural gas extraction method being considered by the Cuomo administration. Psalm 24 declares, “The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. For he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” We believe that the world is more than a human environment subject to our use or abuse. The world is God’s creation, a gift entrusted to us for the good of all living things. Faithful stewardship requires us to manage our natural resources responsibly, sustainably, and without despoiling this gift.
Fracking fails this stewardship test. From drinking wells poisoned and aquifers threatened by millions of gallons of toxic fluids, to increased air and noise pollution from extraction technology and truck traffic, to explosions and fires at drilling sites, to many documented health threats suffered by humans and livestock — the evidence is overwhelming in states that have allowed it: fracking poisons the precious legacy of land, water and air on which all life depends.
Fracking also offers false hopes for good jobs and sustainable economic growth. It threatens opportunities for a more sustainable future, one ecologically sound and protective of the land. In addition, fracking threatens family farms, organic agriculture, wineries, breweries, ecotourism, outdoor recreation, and so many other enterprises rooted in the rich history and awesome natural beauty of upstate New York. Worst of all, the false hope of fracking delays serious effort and investment to secure a post-carbon, clean energy future for New Yorkers.
Many scientists predict that the 21st century will be the century of scarce water, as the 20th was dominated by the quest for oil. It would be an outrage to endanger upstate New York’s abundant clean water sources with ever more invasive efforts to extract dirty fossil fuels whose use surely must end. … God’s creation needs our care, now more than ever. [Emphasis added]
The Rev. Robert White is the interim executive director of the New York State Council of Churches and Minister Emeritus of the First Reformed Church of Schenectady.