John Fetterman’s Fracking Flip Flops

February 18, 2021

PA Democrats express disappointment over Lt Gov’s betrayals on fracking


For Immediate Release

BRADDOCK, PA- As he begins his Senate campaign, Democratic elected officials from around Pennsylvania are calling on Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman to fulfill his past promises on fracking and fossil fuel pipelines.

The voices of the elected officials — including State Representative Danielle Friel Otten, East Pittsburgh Borough Councilwoman Stacey Simon, and Northampton County Councilwoman Tara Zrinski — are being highlighted by national environmental group Food & Water Action, which is launching a petition calling for Fetterman to fulfill his past promises to defend communities that are fighting dangerous drilling and pipeline projects.

Fetterman’s political career is marred by broken promises over the issue of fracking. On several occasions, Fetterman promised to stand with the communities fighting the powerful industry, only to abandon those commitments after elections had passed.

In his 2016 Senate campaign, Fetterman signed a pledge supporting a statewide moratorium on fracking. At an April 2016 debate, he criticized the pro-drilling record of a rival candidate, Katie McGinty, saying she “brought fracking to Pennsylvania.”

Fetterman told McGinty: “You can’t have it both ways. There’s no such thing as a green fracker.”

That year, he also supported Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, saying that the senator’s call for a fracking ban would be a “winning issue” in Pennsylvania.

But during the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, Fetterman took the opposite position, arguing that Democrats who speak out against fracking would lose the state.

“It is disappointing that Fetterman made a commitment to me and communities around Pennsylvania that he would fight to stop fracking, and then turned around and became a staunch supporter of new fracking,” said Northampton County Councilmember Tara Zrinski, who gave Fetterman the fracking ban pledge that he signed in 2016.

In his 2018 campaign for Lieutenant Governor, Fetterman said he supported community leaders’ calls for Governor Tom Wolf to stop the dangerous Mariner East pipeline.

Fetterman also received a guided tour of Mariner East construction in Delaware and Chester Counties. Among his tour guides was State Representative Danielle Friel Otten. “‘No one should have to live in these conditions’ were John Fetterman’s words after he sat in my neighbor’s family room with me and walked through their backyards to see the devastation that Mariner East is having on communities like mine.” said Friel Otten. “Voters in Chester County will need to understand Fetterman’s confusing public positions on fossil fuel expansion, fracking and the suffering that communities are facing in the name of jobs, as he now runs for Senate.”

However, Fetterman never took up the issue in any way, aside from defending Wolf against an FBI ethics investigation centered around his handling of permit approvals.

Fetterman’s reversal on fracking runs close to home. He has supported a hugely unpopular  fracking well proposal in his hometown, even while opposition from local municipalities piles up. The public opposition to this environmentally unjust well has forced state regulators to suspend review of the project.

Local opposition to the proposed fracking well caused East Pittsburgh Borough to rescind driller Merrion Oil & Gas’s permit, which led Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to suspend their review of the proposal. In response, Merrion is threatening East Pittsburgh with an expensive lawsuit.

“East Pittsburgh residents oppose this well, and will continue to despite Merrion’s threats,” said East Pittsburgh Borough Councilwoman Stacey Simon. “It would be very helpful for John Fetterman to voice his support for our community. Unfortunately, thus far he has chosen to stick with the fracking industry.”

Fetterman’s fracking positions could resonate in the state. Recent polling shows that fracking is deeply unpopular with Democratic voters, and new research confirms that the promised jobs benefits linked to fracking in Pennsylvania and Ohio have never materialized.


Food & Water Action Endorses Scott Stringer for NYC Mayor

January 11, 2021

New York, NY — The national advocacy group Food & Water Action is endorsing New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for Mayor, citing his newly released plan to combat climate change and his long and consistent record in taking on the fossil fuel industry.

With the endorsement, Food & Water Action Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp issued the following statement:

“Scott Stringer has both the vision and the expertise to move New York City off our ruinous reliance on fossil fuels. In a crowded field, his record and climate plan stand head and shoulders above the rest. New Yorkers deserve a mayor who will take on the fossil fuel industry and win. Scott has been with us in the fight against fracking, the Williams Pipeline, and our current struggle to shut down New York City’s dirtiest power plants. We’re proud to be with him in the race for Mayor and look forward to working together to end the era of fossil fuels once and for all.”

“Food and Water Action is helping to lead the charge in the fight against climate change, and I’m honored to have their support,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “From New York State’s ban on fracking to the defeat of the Williams Pipeline, Food and Water takes on the big fights and wins big victories. Their urgency and vision for a better world will be a motivation to me every day in City Hall.”

As Borough President of Manhattan, Scott Stringer was one of the first elected officials to come out in support of a ban on fracking. He stood with Food & Water Action and others in the climate movement for years until New York successfully banned the practice statewide in 2014.

Since then, Stringer has committed to divesting New York City’s pension fund as comptroller and has been a stalwart ally in the climate movement’s ongoing battles to stop the build-out of gas infrastructure, supporting campaigns to stop fracked gas pipelines, power plants, export terminals and other projects.

Trump Makes One More Desperate Bid to Frack the Election

October 28, 2020

For Immediate Release

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Donald Trump is considering an executive order that would seek to make the case for expanding fossil fuel drilling. The order would include an analysis of fracking’s economic impacts and the possible consequences of a ban.

The news came on the same day that Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, while touring a fracking well in Pennsylvania, made the astonishingly false claim that “there are no credible studies that show fracking harms the environment in a significant way.”

In response, Food & Water Action Policy Director Mitch Jones released the following statement:

“This order is just one more desperate attempt by this White House to make fracking into a winning campaign issue. There is no doubt that fracking poisons our air and water, and that drilling is driving us towards climate crisis. There is something grotesquely fitting that an administration that has sacrificed climate action for the sake of the fossil fuel industry thinks fracking is a winner.

“The truth is that the fracking industry is in collapse. Fracking has never been the economic engine that its backers have claimed it to be, and any attempts to resuscitate it are only delaying the inevitable. Debt-ridden drilling companies have laid off thousands of workers while CEOs make off with millions in profits. Instead of looking for novel ways to bail out the frackers, political leaders who profess to have even the slightest concern for passing on a livable world to our children must work to wind down fossil fuels, and create a just transition for workers who can build the clean energy economy of the future.”


New Fracking Poll Highlights Weakness of Conventional Wisdom

October 20, 2020

More evidence that Pennsylvania voters are not supportive of fossil fuel drilling

For Immediate Release

A new national YouGov survey shows more Americans oppose fracking than support it (44 percent to 35 percent), and that fracking is not popular in key swing states Pennsylvania and Ohio.

In Pennsylvania, voters are evenly split (41/41), but the partisan divide is especially wide: Democrats overwhelmingly oppose fracking (66 percent), Republicans strongly support it, and independents are more likely to oppose fracking (43 percent to 35 percent).

While the conventional wisdom has long held that Democrats risk alienating voters with a strong anti-fracking message, this survey is one more sign that the real world politics of fracking tell a very different story.

Food & Water Action Policy Director Mitch Jones released the following statement:

“Banning fracking should be an essential part of a bold national climate plan. If we are serious about substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it’s plainly clear that we cannot continue drilling for oil and gas. This new survey adds to what we already know about public opinion in Pennsylvania: Contrary to what the pundits and Donald Trump would have you believe, fracking is not popular with voters. While the Trump campaign routinely makes patently false claims in a desperate attempt to use fracking as a wedge issue, Pennsylvanians are sending the message that they are opposed to rescuing the failing fracking industry.”


Lauren Larkin and Russell Castelli Endorsed for Ridgefield Council

October 20, 2020

The national advocacy group Food & Water Action is endorsing Lauren Larkin and Russell Castelli for Ridgefield Borough Council.

As members of the Borough Council in 2019, Larkin and Castelli were at the forefront of the successful fight to stop the Meadowlands power plant. If approved, it would have been the largest climate polluter in New Jersey; pollution from that plant would have degraded local air quality at a time when healthy lungs have never been more important.

Larkin and Castelli championed a resolution through Ridgefield Council, making the borough the first municipality to publicly oppose the fracked gas power plant. And they didn’t stop there. Over the next 15 months, they organized the community for positive change, holding town hall events, speaking out at public demonstrations, and engaging their colleagues in other towns.

Their efforts were instrumental to forming a powerful coalition of 52 municipal governments throughout Bergen County who joined Food & Water Action and other groups in successfully pressuring Governor Murphy to stop the power plant.

Throughout the pandemic, Lauren and Russell have continued working hard to assist their neighbors in need. And they continue to demonstrate incredible leadership in the fight for clean air in North Jersey, most recently by passing a strong resolution against the next major pollution threat in the region: the NJ TRANSIT power plant proposal.

“Now, more than ever, we need real leaders in every level of government to fight for us and ensure we have clean air, safe water, and a healthy environment,” said Food & Water Action New Jersey State Director Matt Smith. “Lauren and Russell embody the bold leadership we need to stop dangerous fossil fuel expansion projects and transition our communities onto 100% clean energy sources.”

National Environmental Group Endorses Cathy Kunkel for Congress

September 22, 2020

Kunkel will fight for access to clean water for all West Virginians

For Immediate Release

The national environmental advocacy group Food & Water Action is endorsing Cathy Kunkel to represent West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Kunkel has been fighting for her community for years. As a founder of the statewide grassroots group Rise Up WV, she created a platform for West Virginians’ voices to be heard over those of corporations. Kunkel also led the movement to ensure safe drinking water for Charleston residents following the 2014 Elk River chemical spill. While she was out organizing, Kunkel has also been a leading researcher in the economics and finances of the fossil fuel industry, authoring reports that have exposed serious flaws in the myth that a privately-owned, fossil fuel-based economy serves Americans.

Food & Water Action Political Director Sam Bernhardt issued the following statement:

“Cathy Kunkel has everything a member of Congress needs. As a community organizer, Cathy has spent years listening to and empowering her community. As a leader in researching the fossil fuel industry, she has a deep understanding of what’s wrong with the nation’s energy system and how to fix it.”

In races across the country, Food & Water Action is backing bold leaders committed to taking on the most pressing public health, environmental and climate challenges of our time. In June, the group helped climate champions Mondaire Jones and Jamaal Bowman cruise to victory in their New York congressional races.