PITTSBURGH (AP) - More than 100 protests against the natural gas drilling process known as fracking are scheduled to take place around the world today, building on public concerns but also using an overly simplified message to spur outrage.
The GlobalFrackdown website and campaign was developed by Food & Water Watch, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that was once part of Ralph Nader's Public Citizen group. The campaign claims that fracking "has already damaged communities and ruined lives. It pollutes water and makes people sick."
Scientists disagree on the risks of fracking, a process that injects large volumes of water, sand, and chemicals underground to break rock apart and free the gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and many state regulators, however, say that fracking can be done safely. The American Lung Association says natural gas has helped reduce air pollution as many dirtier coal-fired power plants shift to natural gas.
The immense volumes of natural gas found in formations of shale rock around the country has spurred a boom in natural gas production that has been credited with creating jobs and lowering prices for industry and consumers.
The Frackdown campaign doesn't mention the differing opinions over risks or any benefits of fracking.
Mark Schlosberg, the national organizing director for Food & Water Watch, said supporters of the campaign are concerned about access to safe drinking water now and in the future.