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U.S. Chamber’s Pro-Fracking Tour Proves Its Limited Knowledge of Energy Realities

Statement by Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program

Come one, come all. Gather 'round for a pair of misguided tours touting the benefits of fracking, one organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the other by the American Petroleum Institute.

The Big Business mouthpieces are hosting a series of rallies and spending millions in political advertising in – what a shock – key election swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, urging the Obama administration to do more to promote hydraulic fracturing. But the Chamber must have been too busy flapping its jowls to read today’s Wall Street Journal story (and others) describing how major natural gas producers are posting disappointing returns and even losses because – get this – there’s too much natural gas production already. Case in point: The U.S. recently surpassed Russia as the leading natural gas producer on the planet.

Not only is the surplus more than our market can consume, it is more than our atmosphere can handle. Advances in extraction technologies are allowing big polluters to get to resources that once seemed out of reach. That may mean short-term profits for the gas and oil industry but, for the rest of us, it means adjusting to the painful realities of climate change. Pushing the fracking agenda is bad business any way you look at it.

This proves that the Chamber is pushing a political, rather than a business, agenda. This is particularly the case as the Chamber dismisses genuine environmental and public health concerns associated with fracking as pandering to Obama’s “environmental voter base.” How cynical can you get: a corporate trade association dismissing genuine grassroots concerns about water contamination, increased emissions from wells and trucks? Shame on the Chamber: There is no such thing as benign fossil fuel extraction. There are real impacts on real people living across America, many of whom are organizing this weekend in the first national rally against fracking. The Chamber’s dismissal of their concerns as political pandering is offensive.

A sound energy plan is one that would empower Main Street communities to take the lead on sustainable energy independence through the promotion of rooftop solar, energy efficiency incentives, mass transit and other job-creating clean energy investments.

Maybe it’s best for the Chamber to give its advertising expenditures to charity and leave energy policy to those who actually know what they’re talking about.

For information on this weekend’s events, visit: http://www.energyvox.org/2012/07/25/stop-the-frack-attack/.

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