Americans Against Fracking (AAF) is a national coalition of so-called anti-fracking groups. Though the organization has its own website, if you want to speak with a representative of AAF you actually have to contact Food & Water Watch–another Washington D.C.-based anti-fracking activist organization. Americans Against Fracking tries to portray itself as a grassroots coalition of concerned organizations, but when you did a little deeper into these groups it’s clear that the coalition has few actual ties to Colorado.
Americans Against Fracking lists 14 groups from Colorado as part of its coalition. But only three of them have working websites. It’s difficult to tell whether the other ones, with names such as “Occupy Greeley” and “What the Frack?!” even exist at all. This parallels the astroturf groups that make up AAF’s nationwide coalition as well, many of whom either don’t have websites, don’t have a mission that has anything to do with fracking, or don’t have any evidence of existence at all.
AAF Colorado “Coalition” Websites
|Adams County Unite Now||Working|
|Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights||Not Working|
|Citizens for Huerfano County||Working|
|Denver Community Rights||Not Working|
|East Boulder County United||No Site Listed|
|Erie Rising||Not Working|
|Frack Files of Greeley||No Site Listed|
|Frack Free Gunbarrel||No Site Listed|
|Lakewood Fractivist||No Site Listed|
|Occupy Greeley||No Site Listed|
|Our Longmont||Not Working|
|GrassRoots EnErgy activist Network (GREEN)||Working|
|Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley||No Site Listed|
|What the Frack?!||No Site Listed|
Role in Colorado Debate
Americans Against Fracking plays a key organizational role in the anti-fracking ballot campaign. The group has organized conference calls for Local Control Colorado and its affiliated members to plan their statewide ballot strategy to end fracking in Colorado. Though groups like Local Control Colorado insist that the goal of the campaign is not to ban fracking, but to allow “local control” of policies, one strategy call organized by Americans Against Fracking concluded with the radical participants chanting “Ban Fracking Now.” Americans Against Fracking was also heavily involved in local campaigns to ban fracking in 2012. Food & Water Watch, which runs AAF’s media and was also a key organizer and funder of local Colorado anti-fracking ballot measures, sent out a press release praising Americans Against Fracking’s work in the state. Kaye Fissinger of the anti-fracking group, Our Longmont, stated:
Americans Against Fracking plays a significant role in the battle against hydraulic fracking. Longmont was the first community to ban this dangerous practice in Colorado, and is thrilled to have the support of Americans Against Fracking as we continue to secure our rights to health and safety.
Using Celebrities to Generate Fracking Fears
Americans Against Fracking is doing whatever it can to push for a fracking ban in Colorado. The coalition has even gone so far as to produce a series of YouTube videos relying on completely false claims to pressure Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) to ban fracking.
In one 9-second video, Carter Oosterhouse (an HGTV handyman) claims, “the recent floods in Colorado shows that fracking pollutes our waters.” This assertion lacks any factual basis: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found “no evidence of pollutants from oil and gas spills in rivers and streams affected by flooding.” Oosterhouse isn’t even from Colorado–he was born in Michigan and now resides in Los Angeles, California.
Josh Fox, director of the anti-fracking film Gasland, is another out-of-state “celebrity” to make a video urging Hickenlooper to ban fracking. In his video Fox makes a number of vague claims, including blaming fracking for promoting “industrialization” in Colorado.
On the national level a number of celebrities who lack any training in science or experience in the energy realm, joined Americans Against Fracking to scare Americans about the dangers of fracking. In only 30 seconds, celebrities such as Marisa Tomei, Darren Criss, Amy Smart, Hayden Panettiere, Lance Bass, and Daryl Hannah make a number of false statements about fracking, including:
- Fracking poisons oceans and groundwater–Even representatives from the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council could not name a single confirmed case of fracking contaminating groundwater when asked during a Senate hearing.
- Fracking makes climate change worse–A report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says fracking could be part of the solution to climate change.
- Fracking uses cancer-causing chemicals–Most of the fracking process uses water and sand–only about one half of one percent of fracking fluid. While some of the chemicals used the process are hazardous, they occur in small amounts and have not been shown to have any impact on drinking water.