US Fracking Opponents Disrupt Leaders In Paris Talks

| Resist!

Above photo: Gathering after the action. From Sustain US.

Paris, France – In the first major interruption at the location of the Paris negotiations, fracked gas opponents repeatedly interrupted a panel featuring “local climate leaders” today to draw attention to the fact that many of the panelists support fracking projects. Panelists included Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Secretary Matt Rodriquez of California EPA, and Chris Davis, senior advisor to the Office of Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State. Constituents of the politicians attended the panel to speak out against the various states’ natural gas fracking projects, which is incompatible with the renewable energy .

Interruptions took place throughout the panel discussion. The first occurred mere minutes after it began, with two attendees unfurling a banner reading “Fracked Gas = Climate Change”. Attendees continued to speak out for the duration of the panel, questioning the politicians’ commitments to addressing climate change while simultaneously allowing new fracked gas infrastructure projects. Pointed questions critical of the controversial drilling technique and the proposed projects proceeded to dominate the Q&A session that followed.

“I worked for Governor Shumlin in 2008, but I didn’t vote for him in 2014 because of his support for the fracked gas pipeline,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts, a young woman from Vermont who has worked on the campaign against the project for over 2 years and interrupted her Governor today. “Our state banned fracking in 2012, citing health concerns and risks to water safety, but we know that fracked gas buildout, including pipelines, ties us to a future of fracking elsewhere. This project is incompatible with a true clean energy plan for Vermont.”

Fracking is particularly scrutinized in California, where residents’ water is rationed while an average 2 to 4 million gallons is used to drill a single hydraulic fracturing well (1). In Vermont, Governor Shumlin has thrown his support behind a proposed fracked gas pipeline set to run the western side of the state, which would commit Vermont to fossil fuel use for the next 50 years (2). In Washington State, residents are fighting a series of crude oil terminals, including the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil terminal, which would be the largest terminal on the west coast (3).

“If Governor Inslee sells himself as the greenest Governor in America, why is he bringing exploding oil trains through my community of Seattle and illegally fast-tracking refinery expansions.” said Ahmed Gaya an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle.


Notes for Editors:

  1. Groundwater Protection Council study on fracking’s water usage –
  2. Five Things You Should Know About The Vermont Gas Pipeline, Vermont Public Radio –
  3. Taking a Stand against Vancouver’s Proposed Tesoro-Savage Oil Train Terminal –
  4. Nature Journal study on fracking’s CO2 emissions –
  • Katie L.

    Just a clarification–this looks like the other side of the COP21 venue, which is open to the public. Participants don’t have accreditation badges on. Thus, the protest did not actually interrupt negotiations.