Mark Ruffalo's Anti-Fracking Efforts

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

fracking, hydraulic fracturing, frack Anti-fracking sign at the final of four public hearings in New York city on the controversial practice known as hydraulic fracturing. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Mark Ruffalo, actor and co-founder of Water Defense, and Claire Sandberg, executive director of Water Defense, discuss their anti-fracking efforts and their renewable energy agenda.


Mark Ruffalo and Claire Sandberg

Comments [36]

lonebear from damascus

if anyone wants to buy me out text me 570-352-2745 i now have breast cancer and in debt of over 30,000 dollars, people take a look at dimock, look at Pavillion Wyoming, see they are exempt from all Water and Federal safety laws, why are doctors threatned with a gag order to not tell thier patients who are poisened by this toxic wasted this makes Agent orange looks like kool aide. All supervisors have signed a lease even the firemen and ambulance core signed lease.

May. 04 2012 03:56 PM

They are going to export the energy anyway. America wont see much of it.

or look on google at usatoday "gas exports" theyre sending it to asia and latin America

Apr. 16 2012 10:21 PM
Jack Fitzsimons from Tor Network

Combined geophysical techniques such as ReMi & downhole tomography should identify shallow gas pockets above the Coal Seam target depth. ReMi is unaffected by noise (drilling) and could occur while drilling. Therefore, it could be used in the field to immediately plan hole locations - this method of gas exploration appear to require a high density of drilled wells. Obtaining Poissons Ratio from those techniques as drilling progresses across the field, should enable shallow gas pocket (that get's into the water table and out your water tap) identification. Mapping these while - simultaneously, while drilling (no time lost!) across the field could avoid the main environmental problem with Coal Seam Gas ie gas in your water tap.

Apr. 10 2012 07:50 PM
Jane Rose from Narrowsburg New York

For heaven's sake Brian, please let these advocates who took the time to come on the show and explain that the fracking process is going to ruin our natural resources here in Sullivan County, have their say. Give them a couple of intervals without sharpening all your opposing clips and trying to represent the other side. The other side, the military industrial complex, always wins. Always. NPR is our station, belongs to us, the people who live in the borscht belt and who need straight air time to be heard. You challenged Mark on everything from fracking process to his right to report.
Why not just turn up the volume on your hearing aid for one minute and listen the weep and wail of the folks in PA right across the Delaware River. Their lives have been destroyed. Their pastoral heaven murdered with poison and pollutant.
In the end, when they lay the pipes and boom the explosives only a few towns from your precious New York City reservoir, I would suggest that you order an eternal subscription of bottled water, Amazon prime. The sweet summers of camp in these hills will need this delivery as well.
Brian, relax and come upstate to visit us. for one more brief moment in time, we still have the cows and natural rural peace that will help you relax.

Apr. 04 2012 05:29 PM
Why not use LIQUID NITROGEN in Fracking ?

As you may remember from High School, soaking most materials
in LIQUID NITROGEN makes it extremely brittle. Even a rubber ball
can be EASILY SHATTERED with a mild applied shock / force when it
has been emersed briefly in Liquid Nitrogen.

Pump liquid nitrogen into the Fracking hole. Then initiate a mild
shock wave. The severely cooled rock around the hole should
SHATTER. The liquid nitrogen will then evaporate. (Recall that
most of our atmosphere is composed of nitrogen gas).
The process can then be repeated to extend the hole.

Perhaps this possibility should be examined by the FRACKING industry
as a more environmentally friendly solution ?

Apr. 04 2012 04:10 PM

What other options do we have? Electric cooking and heating is very expensive, solar, wind, and solar hot water systems are very expensive and can be unreliable and inefficient. So with the rising oil prices what alternative do people have?

We need affordable renewable energy now otherwise we will see significant environmental damage in the next two decades.

Apr. 04 2012 01:43 PM
James who refused leasing

After refusing to sign a lease with the Iraq war veteran, who was wearing his Troop hat displaying his troop insignia, a pin with same and an American flag pin, and nothing that would indicate he was indeed reprsenting Chesapeake Energy, I began to do the necessary study to determine the impact of drilling for natural gas would have on my property and my life. I went to Dimock. I was horrified to see hundreds of trucks driving on rural roads, farms,new stone roads cut here there and everywhere and hundreds of workers from Texas and Louisiana. The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming odor of gas in the air that hit me in the face as soon as I crossed into the valley. I began to think what a shame, I wonder if all these people are being compensated for the loss of their way of life. I wondered if they had indeed been given a realistic description of what the impact of drilling was going to be to their lives, or weather they had met with the Misrepresentative I had. He stated to me that I was in luck that some of my neighbors had done the patriotic thing and signed leases. I then, like Mr. Ruffallo began to defend my piece of America. The more I learned about deceptive, secretive, and pretatory practices being employed by the industry, the more outraged I became.But now factor in millions of gallons of clean potable water being rendered toxic, people and animals becoming sickened, aquiferes polluted forever, people being forced out of their homes because of contamination, no monies being set aside to install expensive water infrastructure in rural, challenging topgraphy, I became convinced, this practice must be stopped!
As we learn now that a great percentage of leases have been sold to foreign corporations I could only reflect on the war veteran/gas mans' claim of patriotic sacrifice. And that guys were dying in the middle east for oil!I thought, how many people were told they were going to war for oil? How will we know when we've won the war for oil? Two dollar gasoline? I thought about proud veterans returning to the family farm after having made a signifgant sacrifice serving our country, only to find that multinational corporations had destroyed the very land they had fought to defend.

Apr. 04 2012 12:07 PM
gary from queens

Dear GP,

I would be happy to take Brian's phone call. I would be happy if he called ANYONE who is a true conservative.

Apr. 04 2012 11:33 AM

Lawrence H. McFarland:

Actually, Qatar would exist just fine. Their mix of energy comes primarily from conventional production.

Incidentally, the environment is a little different in Qatar than Northeast US as well. It's basically a big desert, with no permanent rivers and little cultivated land. Perhaps that's why they're a world leader in desalination...

Apr. 04 2012 11:29 AM
Yeghia Aslanian from NYC

I admire both of you (Mark Ruffalo and Caire Sandberg)
for the work you are doing. We need honest, open discussion based on scientific facts and personal stories to change behavior. I couldn't agree with you more that people's safety should be the top priority. Keep up the good work. Thanks

Apr. 04 2012 11:16 AM
Arden from New York

Thank you, thank you for letting the truth about the hazards of hydrofracking be aired on your show. We need more air time!

Apr. 04 2012 11:12 AM


He called in on the phone....

Apr. 04 2012 11:07 AM

Natural gas is trading around $2 right now, and the companies that produce it are hurting from the super low prices. That is the market saying, supply is enough right now, and in fact it outstrips demand.

Companies are often drilling at a loss just to keep the leases that often force them to drill. The BS about needing to drill more because of the great demand out there is just that, BS.

The push to drill more now is a push to drill and build the pipelines before people realize and see any negative side affects on the bet that whatever is being done will be grandfathered and they won't have to meet environmental standards. The market is saying there's time to work out the standards first.

Side thought: why is the natural gas fracking industry one of the few given broad exemptions from the Clean Air Act?

Apr. 04 2012 11:07 AM
John from NYC

Concerning the question of Mr. Ruffalo and other actors using their celebrity for a cause. I would have to commend him and other people for their efforts. To me it is unfortunate since this is the type of activity we should expect from our elected officials.

Apr. 04 2012 11:05 AM
Lawrence H. McFarland from Carmel, NY 10512

Per your fracing position/knowledge, Quatar and many other places wouldn't exist. What say you?

Apr. 04 2012 11:02 AM

We all need energy. I'm sure Mark has looked at his energy use... planes both private and public, cars, homes - how many? Howmany sq ft? Solar panels? Wind energy? It reminds me of Al Gore preaching yet he lived in very large home using huge amounts of energy which has been addressed. We need a combination of all... solar, wind, oil, gas... including fracking. We cannot continue to buy gas from countries that support terrorism. Gas prices will continue to rise and we need multiple sources. We need to be smart.

Apr. 04 2012 11:01 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

John - anything besides one that may allow me to light my tap water on fire

Apr. 04 2012 10:59 AM
William from Manhattan

Right on, Mr. Ruffalo. BTW, another highly committed artist-advocate is the actor Tarô Yamamoto in Japan, who has put his career on hold to advocate for a nuclear-free Japan in the wake of the 3.11 disaster at significant personal sacrifice.

Apr. 04 2012 10:57 AM
gary from queens

Ohhh, it's a "democracy" Mark?! Is that why you get to be a guest on the show to discuss fracking?

OK Brian. You heard him. It's a democracy. When are you going to have ME on your show?

He says he "spent his life" on fracking, even though it's an invention of only a few years. Whereas I've spent most of my life (35 years) advocating on the issues of water fluoridation and vaccination.

So I await your invitation

Apr. 04 2012 10:57 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I totally agree with the guests in being against this technology, but Jeez, that speech by Ruffalo.... could he leave out all the little self-serving stuff??


Apr. 04 2012 10:57 AM
john from office

So what are the energy alternatives that they are proposing???All they do is oppose any energy source, what do you propose??

Apr. 04 2012 10:57 AM

T-Bones has bet his billions on natural gas.

Oh, wonder if that's relevant?

Apr. 04 2012 10:56 AM
Shenna from UES

T Boone Pickens totally used his wind and solar to sell Natural Guess, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Apr. 04 2012 10:56 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

Didn't Haliburton -- while Dick Cheney was running the company -- push through that EPA waiver for fracking?

I guess money is more important than people's health. That is unless you happen to be a former Vice President and need a heart transplant.

Apr. 04 2012 10:56 AM
William from Manhattan

Does Mr. Ruffalo have a comment about NYC's move to pressure residential apartment buildings to replace oil boilers with natural gas boilers? I've recently learned that biodiesel (not the same thing as biofuel) is a much better alternative to oil, and doesn't require hugely expensive replacement of boilers.

Apr. 04 2012 10:52 AM
Kai from New York

Per Chesapeake Energy: Average Frack job = 4.5 million gallons of water

Up to 1 million gallons of toxic flowback wastewater returns to the surface for every frack job.


Really? Shale Gas Fracking Uses a Lot of Water? Really!

Apr. 04 2012 10:50 AM
Bobby G from East Village

If gallons of undisclosed chemicals are injected into the ground it will contaminate the ground water no matter what the proponents say. So the question becomes which is more valuable the water or the gas?

Our forefathers had the vision to protect and build the best urban water system in the country. It is our charge to maintain, upgrade and continue to protect it.

Apr. 04 2012 10:43 AM
gary from queens


It is one thing to avoid counterpoint on you one-sided pro liberal show. But what is the purpose of having a celeb advocate for public policy which is technical and requires expertise?

I mean, besides having an opportunity to meet a celebrity. And if THAT is the real reason, why not Robert DeNiro or Tim Robbins? Are there any shortage of liberal celebs unable to read a script from the Environmental Defense Fund besides a B-grade actor?

Apr. 04 2012 10:35 AM
gary from queens

April 3, 2012 4:00 A.M.
Carbon Emissions Are Good
It is erroneous to think that humans cannot change the environment for good.

By Robert Zubrin

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intention to enforce regulations that would effectively ban new coal-fired power plants in the United States. As coal is by far America’s cheapest and most plentiful fossil fuel, and coal-fired power stations account for 45 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S., the destructive economic effects of this edict can hardly be overstated. It is therefore imperative to subject the EPA’s logic to a searching examination.


Apr. 04 2012 10:27 AM
gary from queens

March 22, 2012 12:00 A.M.
Faith-Based Energy Policy
Obama needs to face the facts about drilling.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Obama’s knowledge of U.S. reserves is 20 years out of date. In the first three years of his administration alone, new finds offshore, in Alaska, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in unexpected places such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio have revolutionized America’s energy future in ways undreamed of just a few years ago. We probably have 100 years of natural-gas supplies at present rates of consumption and could cut our imported oil by 50 percent in a few years.

Apr. 04 2012 10:26 AM
gary from queens

An excerpt from the concluding section of the article:

All energy sources have potentially harmful side effects. The genuine problems caused by fracking and possible large-scale future drilling of methane hydrates should be carefully monitored and dealt with by government regulation. But the Green lobby’s alarm about the environmental side-effects of energy sources is highly selective. The environmental movement since the 1970s has been fixated religiously on a few "soft energy" panaceas -- wind, solar, and biofuels -- and can be counted on to exaggerate or invent problems caused by alternatives. Many of the same Greens who oppose fracking because it might contaminate some underground aquifers favor wind turbines and high-voltage power lines that slaughter eagles and other birds and support blanketing huge desert areas with solar panels, at the cost of exterminating much of the local wildlife and vegetation. Wilderness preservation, the original goal of environmentalism, has been sacrificed to the giant metallic idols of the sun and the wind.

The renewable energy movement is not the only campaign that will be marginalized in the future by the global abundance of fossil fuels produced by advancing technology. Champions of small-scale organic farming can no longer claim that shortages of fossil fuel feedstocks will force a return to pre-industrial agriculture.

Another casualty of energy abundance is the new urbanism. Because cars and trucks and buses can run on natural gas as well as gasoline and diesel fuel, the proposition that peak oil will soon force people around the world to abandon automobile-centered suburbs and office parks for dense downtowns connected by light rail and inter-city trains can no longer be taken seriously. Deprived of the arguments from depletion, national security and global warming, the campaign to increase urban density and mass transit rests on nothing but a personal taste for expensive downtown living, a taste which the suburban working-class majorities in most developed nations manifestly do not share.

Eventually civilization may well run out of natural gas and other fossil fuels that are recoverable at a reasonable cost, and may be forced to switch permanently to other sources of energy. These are more likely to be nuclear fission or nuclear fusion than solar or wind power, which will be as weak, diffuse and intermittent a thousand years from now as they are today. But that is a problem for the inhabitants of the world of 2500 or 3000 A.D.

In the meantime, it appears that the prophets of an age of renewable energy following Peak Oil got things backwards. We may be living in the era of Peak Renewables, which will be followed by a very long Age of Fossil Fuels that has only just begun.

Apr. 04 2012 10:25 AM
gary from queens

Pinch me. i must be dreaming.

New America Foundation is the premier LIBERAL Washington thinktank. it lobbies for all things liberal. Yet here it comes out full force in support of fracking and other new tech to extract fossil fuels. and it criticizes renewable and green tech.

Everything You've Heard About Fossil Fuels May Be Wrong
The future of energy is not what you think it is.
By Michael Lind,
New America Foundation
May 31, 2011 | Salon

Apr. 04 2012 10:24 AM
gary from queens

December 21, 2011
The EPA's Unconscionable War on Fracking
By Jeffrey Folks

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that "no person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." For government to harm investors in a private business by bringing false charges against that business is most certainly a violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Environmental Protection Agency, it seems, has been engaged in just this sort of unconstitutional activity ever since Obama appointed Lisa Jackson as director.

The main target of this overzealous prosecution has been companies that produce fossil fuels. Whether it be mountaintop mining, offshore or Arctic drilling, or hydraulic fracturing, the Obama EPA has moved swiftly to block new exploration and production. The bias against fossil fuels that exists at the agency would be bad enough, but the fact that the EPA may have employed illegal and unconstitutional tactics in support of its green agenda is far worse.


Apr. 04 2012 10:15 AM
wendy from Bethel NY

James, if truth is propaganda, then, this is definitely propaganda. After 2 1/2 intense years of studying this topic, starting with the real propaganda-inflicted misunderstanding that "natural" gas was clean energy and the key to our nation's future, I have learned that the only thing the gas companies peddle is propaganda. Gasland has only been roundly rebuked by the very companies that want you to believe that there have "never been any proven cases of fracking contaminating an aquifer." Go out to gaslands and speak to these people whose lives have been ruined and then come back and write "from an objective standpoint." This is not melodrama, it's real-life drama I've seen and heard with my own eyes and ears. Look into the Duke study (oops this was rebuked too, by the gas companies, not by real scientists of the sort who peer-reviewed the study) that shows that water wells within one kilometer of a drilling site are 17 times more likely to be contaminated than wells further from drilling sites. There definitely are people who are bitter and those who didn't read the leases, most of them because they were told by people who practice the used-car salesman approach that they had nothing to worry about and shouldn't bother to read the leases. That's the least of the issues. Try bathing in and drinking the water and then give your objective opinion. What motive do you think Mark would have? He certainly doesn't need the publicity, and there's no money in this for him. He's a compassionate and thoughtful man who has helped so many people whose lives have been so negatively impacted by this menace. But perhaps you're just another paid shill for the gas industry who is the one profiting from posting propaganda.

Apr. 03 2012 11:07 PM
Shahin Heydari from New Jesey, US 07024

I admire such celebrities that give voice to the things which need rectifying actions.

Apr. 03 2012 09:51 PM
James from cold spring from Hudson valley

I'm to the left on just about everything except energy. Does ruffalo realize this is propaganda defined? It screams of it, and from an objective standpoint adds nothing to the discussion beyond gasland, which has been roundly rebuked. Ease off the melodrama and tell a fuller story about bitter leaseholders taken by a landman, perhaps, and water wells that have always been tainted with biogenic methane. Not to mention risks to water implicit in a leaseholders contract that, big surprise, they didn't read when they got their signing bonus

Apr. 03 2012 06:35 PM

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