7 August 2013

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The Hollywood Response To Fracking: What Has These Stars Up In Arms?

Hollywood celebrities are increasingly becoming involved in the debate over the issue of hydrofracking. The process, otherwise known as fracking, is a method of gas extraction that injects high-pressure water, mixed with chemicals, into drilled wells. California and New York are being targeted for drilling. Many celebrities work and live in affected areas, which means the fracking debate is reaching their backyard. As fracking spreads, cities, towns and states are wrestling with how to preserve precious natural resources in the face of big-money gas energy interests. Celebrities, too, are learning more about the practice and taking a stand, mostly against it. Here’s how they’re making waves against fracking. [...]


Hollywood celebrities are increasingly becoming involved in the debate over the issue of hydrofracking. The process, otherwise known as fracking, is a method of gas extraction that injects high-pressure water, mixed with chemicals, into drilled wells. California and New York are being targeted for drilling.


Many celebrities work and live in affected areas, which means the fracking debate is reaching their backyard. As fracking spreads, cities, towns and states are wrestling with how to preserve precious natural resources in the face of big-money gas energy interests. Celebrities, too, are learning more about the practice and taking a stand, mostly against it. Here’s how they’re making waves against fracking.


Getting Organized
Artists Against Fracking (AAF) is an organization formed by Sean Lennon, son of the late Beatles legend John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Sean and his mother are long-time residents of New York State and have a vested interest in keeping the state's water and lands from being tarnished by pollution. The family has a rural home in upstate where Sean has fond memories of enjoying the beautiful outdoors with his dad. Once Lennon learned about the danger fracking poses to the environment, he decided to take action.

His mom, Yoko, is an AAF member. Sean has also recruited stars to the cause, including Paul McCartney, Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon and Zooey Deschanel, among 180 others. Actors Ethan Hawke and Zoe Saldana appear in an anti-fracking ad that promotes the protection of New York's water supply.


Mobilizing Action

Lady Gaga, who is one of the world’s biggest pop stars, has recently thrown her considerable star power behind Artist Against Fracking. Gaga reached out to her millions of fans on Facebook and Twitter requesting that they support a petition to ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking in the state.

Other musicians, such as Natalie Merchant and Joan Osborne, have lent their time and talent to the cause, and rallied in the state capitol of Albany, NY, to make others aware of how important it is to speak out.


Reaching Millions

Late night talk show host and comedian, David Letterman, went on a rant about serious water contamination worries related to fracking. According to Letterman, “we’re screwed” if oil and gas companies do not have to reveal all of the chemicals they use when drilling near drinking water supplies. “Okay,” he says, “’we’ll tell you everything but 2% of what we’re putting into your tap water’…and that’s supposed to make us feel better.”

Recently, actor Matt Damon co-wrote and starred in a movie that contains an anti-fracking message. Titled Promised Land, his movie is about a typical small, Pennsylvania farming community that has fallen on hard economic times. Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, a gas industry representative sent to the town to persuade townspeople to sign drilling rights agreements that could potentially be lucrative. Conflict arises when another character reveals some ugly facts about the aftermath of drilling.


Celebrities like Damon are able to use their Hollywood clout to make millions of people aware of the possible dangers of fracking. Their voices offer a boon to those already concerned about fracking in their local communities. As the stakes become higher, there will likely be more talented celebrities supporting the protection of lands from this type of drilling.



About Today's Contributor:

Doug Wuertz is a freelance entertainment blogger, currently residing in Houston, Texas. While reporting on the political exploits of celebrities, he has learned about civil disobedience, wide-scale protests, and bail bonds in Brazoria County.


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