Students gathered at an Arco gas station on Farivew Avenue in Goleta Saturday to protest fracking. This local event was part of a larger event held by activists and organizers worldwide, known as the Global Frackdown. Students held signs to protest fracking and talked to local residents, educating them on environmental and health consequences.
The Global Frackdown, made up of smaller local actions, aimed to raise awareness and visibility of public support for banning fracking. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has raised several environmental safety concerns. One of these concerns is the contamination of water supplies.
“Because fracking involves drilling and injecting hazardous chemicals into the earth,” Casey Willitts, CALPIRG’s Fracking campaign coordinator explained, “we are putting our drinking water at risk.” Other concerns of fracking opponents range from fracking-induced earthquakes to air pollution.
The Global Frackdown event seeks to ban or halt fracking in states from New York to California, as well as throughout nations that are fracking worldwide. “Fracking is happening in so many communities and we need use the public outrage that already exists to make change on the federal level,” said Willitts.
A recent poll showed that 49% of Americans, up from 38% in March, are opposed to fracking. Jogreet Chadha, a volunteer with UCSB’s CALPIRG chapter added, “The Global Frackdown is an extremely important global and national day of demonstrating opposition to fracking, but it is even more critical for us since they just started fracking here in Santa Barbara.”
It was recently discovered that several fracking operations off the Santa Barbara coast were federally approved without any means of environmental review. “We are showing that UCSB students won’t stand for this,” said Chadha.