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Celebrity ‘Fractivists’: True Advocates Or NIMBYs?

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That is a theme not adequately covered in the debate over fracking, agreed Michael Greenstone, an environmental economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former top adviser to the Obama administration. Greenstone is studying the local health effects of fracking, but he said it’s not scientifically accurate to ignore “the tremendous health gains” from the coal-to-gas shift.

“Honestly,” he said, “the environmentalists need to hear it.”

The main celebrity anti-fracking campaign took off last summer when Ono and Lennon, her son, founded Artists Against Fracking. Their family farm sits near gas reserves in New York, and they fear fracking might be allowed in the area. Some celebrities also speak out independently, or through other groups. Among the claims:

  • Ono, at a news conference: “Fracking kills. And it doesn’t just kill us, it kills the land, nature and eventually the whole world.”
  • Robert Redford, in a radio ad: “Fracking is a bad deal for local communities. It’s been linked to drinking water contamination all across the country. It threatens the clean air we breathe.”
  • Alec Baldwin, in an editorial in the Huffington Post, described a scenario in which companies promise people “some economic benefit, deliver a pittance in actual compensation, desecrate their environment and then split and leave them the bill.”
  • Josh Fox, the director of “Gasland,” to the AP: “We have the capability of running everything in this country – including our fleet of 240 million cars – off of electricity from wind and from solar and from hydropower.” Fox said that society should be changing over “to renewable energy and doing it vigorously and quickly. And we could be doing that in New York.”

While such claims may contain a kernel of truth, they are at best subjective and at worst misleading or even hypocritical, some environmentalists say.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Apr 1st, 2013 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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