Blog

‘Big win’ against fracking: vote for new regulations postponed

Since last week’s “victory” against the tar sands industry, the question circulating among this growing climate movement has been, “What to do next?” When 350.org polled its supporters, twice as many people voted to fight oil and gas fracking than for any other cause.

While it’s hard to prioritize any one threat to the climate, there is a certain pragmatism to the fracking issue. Much like the tar sands and the process to approve the KeystoneXL pipeline, there’s a hard deadline fast approaching to approve drilling in the Delaware River Basin. At least there was, until an announcement was made today by the Delaware River Basin Commission that Monday’s planned vote in Trenton would be postponed indefinitely.

In a message to the many people across New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey who were planning to rally outside the commission’s meeting, filmmaker Josh Fox–whose 2010 documentary Gasland made fracking a national issue–called the announcement “a big win,” as well as “a drop in the bucket.”

You stopped fracking in the Delaware River Basin for now.  You won this round.  It is not a complete victory but it is a huge victory.  You brought us back from the brink of total devastation.

BUT WE ARE STILL GOING TO RALLY IN TRENTON ON MONDAY!

Buses have been chartered, Amtrak tickets have been bought, hotels have been booked.  Great speakers will be there and we have a hugely important moment on our hands to push the momentum forward.

We have just had a major victory, that is true. But there is immense suffering happening and irreparable damage being done across Pennsylvania, across the US and across the world from fracking. New York state is in the process of holding crucial hearings on it’s drilling regulations and we must weigh in. We are not stopping now, we must redouble our efforts, encouraged by this significant and symbolic but momentary win. Stopping fracking in the Delaware River Basin, even just for this moment is huge but it is also a drop in the bucket. We must push ahead.

While it is no doubt encouraging to see the proliferation of these small, but significant victories, the bigger news is that organizers are realizing the pressure they are building cannot relent. Perhaps this a sign of a new activist logic taking hold in the occupy era.