Election 2016

'Gasland' Director Urges Fracking States to Vote Sanders

Josh Fox believes a vote for Bernie is a vote against fracking.

Photo Credit: Andrew Cline/Shutterstock

Josh Fox, the director of the celebrated 2010 documentary Gasland and more recently, How to Let Go of The World (And Love All the Things Climate Can't Change), which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, has a message to voters about environmental dangers, Super Tuesday and Bernie Sanders.

What do these three have in common? Well, there are primaries in five states on Tuesday, March 15: Florida, Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio. With the exception of Missouri, all of them are fracking states where there are significant anti-fracking movements on the ground.

If you want to stop fracking now, vote for Bernie, Fox said.

"What the clean power plant [that Hillary is in favor of] does is that it facilitates the transiton from coal to gas, not the transition from coal and gas to renewable energy," Fox told MSNBC's Chris Hayes following the Democratic debate in Miami. "Right now, in America we are facing 300 fracked gas power plants," the director added.

Clip from GASLAND

Bernie Sanders believes that climate change does not only cause terrorism, it will cause great problems for the next generation.

“The planet we are going to leave our children may not be healthy and inhabitable,” Sanders told CNN in a Democratic debate on March 6. “No, I do not support fracking.”

The following week, during a Democratic debate hosted by Univision, Sanders took a stand against fracking again. “I hope you’ll join me in ending fracking in the United States of America,” he told Clinton.

"You will never hear [Clinton] say on a debate stage, 'I support fracking, let’s frack more,'" Josh Fox said. "That’s because hundreds of families harmed by fracking have spoken out about water and air contamination. The anti-fracking movement is one the fastest growing grassroots movements in the country. The word fracking has become as politically toxic as the practice itself."

Hillary Clinton does support fracking, if "the right safeguards are in place," such as limiting methane emissions. Her website states, "Domestically produced natural gas can play an important role in the transition to a clean energy economy, creating good paying jobs and careers, lowering energy costs for American families and businesses, and reducing air pollution that disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color.”

The former Secretary of State takes large sums of money from the fossil fuel industry, though she has tried to distance herself from the association.

“Maybe while she was courting fracking financiers in Philadelphia she missed the massive leak at Porter Ranch where for over 100 days a natural gas storage facility sent a geyser of potent greenhouse gas into the air. Thousands of families were forced to relocate,” said Lee Ziesche, the grassroots coordinator for International WOW Company.

What makes fracking so scary? “The entire fracking process from extraction to delivery is leaking scary amounts of methane, which 20 years after release is 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2,” Ziesche explained. “A new study from Harvard found that during the fracking boom the U.S. saw a 30% spike in methane emissions. Research by Cornell University’s Robert Howarth has shown that over its whole lifecycle, production, distribution and burning of shale gas actually produces more greenhouse gases than coal or oil. When it comes to the climate, natural gas is not a bridge, it’s a gangplank that leads to drowning.”

Real climate leaders know that 100 percent renewable energy is the only way forward. There is a presidential candidate who does forthrightly support a ban on fracking for the above reasons: Bernie Sanders.

Watch Josh Fox's full statement below:

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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