“Frackdown?” Environmental activists protest gas drilling

Environmental activists showed off a new form of protest throughout the country and around the world Saturday: a “Global Frackdown.”

On Saturday, activists at roughly 100 events around the globe were scheduled to protest a controversial oil and gas extraction practice called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Organizers dubbed their activities in North America, Europe and Australia a “Global Frackdown.

More than 50 Code Pink members gathered near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Protesters congregated in Culver City to ask Gov. Jerry Brown to ban the shale drilling process known as “fracking.” Others gathered in Maryland and Brooklyn and in cities in between.

“NON AU GAZ DE SCHISTE,” read a banner in France that demanded no to shale gas. One activist tweeted a photo of a march.


Three protesters were arrested by Grand Rapids, Mich., police for trespassing, one activist told

The protests, which aim to ban fracking, were coordinated by a Washington, D.C., nonprofit known as Food & Water Watch.

Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water and chemical-laced sand into rock formations to unlock oil and gas deposits. There has been no overall scientific consensus condemning hydraulic fracturing, with some camps arguing that bringing more natural gas into American markets helps drive down air pollution from dirtier fuels, like coal.

Opponents, however, have raised concerns about fracking’s possible effect on ground water contamination and air pollutions cause by the process. Protesters tweeted against the drilling process, often with the phrase, “I’m with the Global Frackdown. Are you?”


“The message is, we need to ban fracking,” Mark Schlosberg, the national organizing director for Food & Water Watch, told the Associated Press, which criticized the group for oversimplifying the fracking debate on Friday. “We think fracking is just another dirty fossil fuel.”


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Twitter: @mattdpearce