Atlantic Chapter and National Sierra Club Fracking Policy

National Sierra Club's Fracking Policy for Natural Gas and Oil

Statement of Policy.  The Sierra Club opposes the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

To limit the damage from fracking until it can be ended entirely, the Club calls for prompt closure of loopholes that effectively exempt fracking from important aspects of major national environmental laws.

Rationale. There are no “clean” fossil fuels. The Sierra Club is committed to eliminating the use of fossil fuels, including coal, natural gas and oil, as soon as possible. We must replace all fossil fuels with clean renewable energy, efficiency and conservation.

Fracking poses unacceptable risks to our communities, our environment and our climate. There is clear evidence that natural gas and oil extracted by fracking are major greenhouse gas contributors. Methane released via extraction and transport is 86 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 over a 20-year time frame.

The climate-disruption impacts from methane and carbon dioxide emitted by extraction, transport and burning clearly point to the urgent need of keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Fracking’s physical impacts have devastated thousands of neighborhoods and thousands of square miles of landscapes that are important to people and/or wildlife.

Fracking has negative impacts on air and water quality and frequently necessitates unacceptable drawdowns on surface water and groundwater. Fracking and its associated waste disposal can cause seismic events; mining for fracking sand causes air contamination and public-health impacts.


Atlantic Chapter Resolution calling for a Ban of Hydrofracing

Whereas extensive environmental and health damages would be caused by horizontal drilling and high pressure hydrofracturing gas extraction techniques due to the contamination of water, soil and air by the toxic chemicals used in drilling and fracturing, and the naturally occurring toxic chemicals brought to the surface from deep in the ground,

Whereas these environmental and human and animal health damages will have damaging economic consequences on residential property values, and on the state’s tourism, agriculture, forestry, winery, real estate development and educational businesses,

Whereas the infrastructure costs of building and repairing roads, water treatment facilities, and other public services would far exceed any economic benefit to local communities, and

Whereas it is yet to be proven that the green house effects of the production and use of natural gas produced by horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing are any less than those of the production and use of coal when the life cycle emissions of natural gas production and the higher impact of methane as a green house gas are taken into account.

Be It Resolved that the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club calls on the New York State Legislature to enact a ban on permitting gas wells that use horizontal drilling and hydro-fracturing to release gas from tight sand and shale formations such as the Marcellus.

Resolution adopted Oct. 17, 2009, by the Atlantic Chapter Executive Committee