Washington, D.C. June 7, 2019 – A first-of-its-kind report from the advocacy group Food & Water Watch provides a full and detailed analysis of the emerging fracked gas infrastructure buildout that is symbiotically driving, and being driven by, a new fracking boom in America. This unique study comprehensively charts natural gas infrastructure buildout by surveying the power, petrochemical and gas export industries collectively. Overall, the report accounts for more than 700 fracked gas infrastructure projects that have been recently built or proposed for development – including gas-fired power plants, petrochemical/plastics facilities, and liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminals.
Some key findings of the report, The Fracking Endgame: Locked Into Plastics, Pollution and Climate Chaos, include:
- The plastics industry, enabled by a glut of inexpensive fracked gas, is projected to add 28 million tons of plastic production this decade, with more than $202 billion slated for investment in 333 new or expanded facilities. This investment is expected to drive a 40 percent increase in global plastic production over the next decade.
- The electric power industry plans to develop 364 new fracked gas-fired plants by 2022. Already, gas deliveries to power plants increased 57 percent between 2006 and 2017.
- Fracking companies are pushing LNG exports in order to reduce local gas supply, thereby increasing domestic prices and profits. In 2018, there were only three active LNG export facilities in the U.S., but 22 more were either being built or approved for construction, and an additional 22 were pending federal review by the end of the year.
“What we see in this report is the industry blueprint for ensuring decades more of fossil fuel dominance over our society. If it becomes realized, the endgame would be a scary, dangerous world of omnipresent plastic waste, expanding air and water pollution, unacceptable health impacts and irreversible climate chaos,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The solution is simple: We must cut off this filthy production stream at its source, by banning fracking and halting the runaway buildout of fracked gas infrastructure that is spreading like a toxic web all over the country.”
“The gas fracking industry has already taken a tremendous toll on our country, in terms of both immediate environmental contamination and far-reaching climate disruption. But given its proposed scale, this latest gas infrastructure buildout could prove to be the ultimate death knell for a stable, livable future,” said Dr. Robert Howarth, a noted climate scientist and professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell University. “A rapid spiraling up of supply and demand for polluting fossil fuels at just the moment we must be turning decisively away from them would be disastrous for our planet. The science is clear: We must transition aggressively to clean, renewable energy now, or it will be too late.”
“This new analysis paints a devastating picture of what our world will look like if fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure buildout aren’t halted soon. But the damage to our bodies is already happening,” said Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a noted biologist, environmental activist and author. “Whether it’s toxic fracking chemicals in our drinking water, toxic gas emissions in our air, or toxic microplastics in our food, more fossil fuels means more human sickness and suffering. It needs to stop now.”
Food & Water Watch mobilizes people to build political power to move bold & uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.