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Posts Tagged ‘Fracking’

STUDY: Social Media Is Winning PR War for Anti-Fracking Groups

Signs protesting the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, are seen near the town of Calicoon Center, New YorkWe’ve written frequently about the PR war over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” — anti-fracking and environmental groups VS. the energy companies that have adopted the controversial practice. Now, a recent study by Makovsky suggests that while both sides may be impassioned and dedicated to winning the debate, the war is being fought on two different battle grounds, and the side utilizing social media appears to be the side that’s winning.

The survey revealed that 57% of U.S. consumers believe that fracking is one of the three most important environmental issues today. Furthermore, 65% of respondents (71% in fracking cities) say they hear about the issue at least weekly, and 77% say they hear about it primarily from internet news sites and social media.

Now here’s the kicker: the study also found that the vast majority of social media mentions of the subject are coming from anti-fracking activists and groups. In fact, of the 1.3 million Twitter mentions of fracking from January through July 2014, anti-fracking activists generated 2000% more impressions than groups supportive of the practice. Let us spell that out again… two-thousand percent! Read more

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Exxon Mobil CEO Is All for Fracking, But Not in His Backyard

rex-tillersonExxon Mobil‘s website assures the public that when hydraulic fracturing (fracking) takes place, “Throughout the entire unconventional gas life cycle – from exploration to decommissioning – care is taken to minimize the disruption to the community and protect the environment.”

So, there should be no reason for anyone to fear or protest against fracking taking place near their homes, right? Right! Unless, of course, you’re Exxon Mobil’s Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson has joined a lawsuit to halt the construction of a water tower that could be used in the fracking process near his 18-acre Texas homestead. The lawsuit argues that the project would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.”

But according to the Exxon Mobil site, such noise and traffic concerns are tantamount to non-issues:

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Disney Withdraws from Pro-Fracking Elementary School Tour

n-ROCKING-IN-OHIO-large570Upon hearing that Disney was bringing an educational program to Ohio elementary schools, a few possibilities of what the program might look like came to mind: Princesses preaching the power of love? Talking animals touting the importance of friendship? Nope; this was three representatives from Radio Disney explaining the importance and benefits of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Last month, a program called Rocking in Ohio, which was led by three Radio Disney staffers and entirely funded by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (a lobbying group paid for by oil and gas companies), performed a series of events at 26 elementary schools across the state, educating students about the process and benefits of fracking.

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Fracking Debate Hits Close to Home for British PR Firm

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Protesters opposed to the process of “fracking”, or extracting natural gas and oil from shale via hydraulic water-powered fracturing, super-glued themselves to the walls of British firm Bell Pottinger‘s office while calling them “fracking liars.”

These activists believe that the British government should invest in renewable resources rather than expanding upon its fracking practices, and they’ve targeted the large, privately owned energy company Cuadrilla as a recipient of prime minister David Cameron‘s largesse. In addition to the aforementioned appearance at Bell Pottinger, protestors also chained themselves together to block entrance to the company’s rural production center.

Lord Browne (his real name), former BP chief and current head of Cuadrilla, defended his company’s practices to reporters at The Sunday Telegraph by insisting that fracking is “in the UK’s interest” when performed safely.

Something tells us the protesters weren’t listening.

PR War: EPA Links Fracking to Water Contamination

We recently told you about the PR war over fracking (or hyraulic fracturing), a process that utilizes large volumes of high-pressured water, sand, and chemicals to fracture shale rock deep underground in order to extract the natural gas locked beneath it. In short, the oil and gas companies doing the fracking claim it’s completely safe, while citizens of towns being “fracked”, grassroots coalitions, social media campaigns, filmmakers and even some A-list celebrities insist it’s a dangerous, poorly-regulated process with the potential to contaminate land, ground water and air.

Well, in news that has dealt a major blow to the arguments of the energy companies and will undoubtedly force the PR professionals handling those companies to scramble for a positive spin, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially and scientifically linked fracking with underground water pollution, concluding that contaminants found in central Wyoming stemmed directly from fracking practices in the area. The study found that the contaminants included at least 10 compounds known to be used in fracking fluid–and that these chemicals had most likely seeped up from gas wells.

Not only do these findings create some obvious PR issues for the energy companies, but they also directly contradict several arguments that they’ve been using to assure the public that the process is safe.

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The PR War over Fracking

Fracking, which is a shorthand term for hydraulic fracturing (not a polite replacement for a colorful expletive), is a process that utilizes large volumes of high-pressured water, sand, and chemicals to fracture shale rock deep underground in order to extract the natural gas locked beneath it. While natural gas itself is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, and is often presented as a “green” solution, the safety and environmental impact of the fracking process has inspired increasing controversy and conflict. A PR war now rages between the energy companies that want to expand their fracking activities and the people and organizations who oppose the practice.

Oil and energy companies have invested a substantial amount of resources into natural gas, touting its viability and abundance while also attempting to reassure skeptics (especially those living in areas atop large shale reserves) that they are taking every precaution to ensure that the gas is being harvested responsibly and safely. However, a lack of regulation and disclosure rules regarding the chemicals used in the process haven’t exactly endeared fracking to opponents; it seems like folks would prefer to know exactly what these energy companies will be pumping into their land (and may potentially end up in their immediate environment via air and groundwater). Gee, who would have thought?

Some specific and well-documented concerns include chemical contamination of potable groundwater, surface water pollution from the dumping of salty post-fracking wastewater into rivers, air pollution near fracking sites, and methane leakage. Yikes–we can see why the energy companies may have some trouble spinning this to their advantage.

Negative environmental impacts notwithstanding, fracking can have a positive economic effect on the communities in which it takes place–and that fact is the primary selling point behind the energy companies’ PR efforts.

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