US

SHOCK CLAIM: Eco-Activists Say ‘Fracking’ Is ‘Rape’

After years of failing to stem the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the U.S., some environmentalists have resorted to another tactic: claiming that fracking is tantamount to rape.

Environmental activist Sharon Wilson of Earthworks seems to have started a new rallying call against the oil and gas industry by claiming that a recently passed bill in the Texas state legislature was allowing “Texas fracking rape.”

“Fracking victims I have worked with describe it as a rape,” Wilson wrote in a blog post protesting a Texas bill that had passed out of committee called HB 40. “It is a violation of justice and it is despoiling the land. Victims usually suffer PTSD.”

“The oil & gas industry THROUGH our elected officials are shoving fracking down the throats of Texans,” Wilson said. “They are left dehumanized and completely helpless against the powerful oil & gas industry because they are in the way of profits. If feeling helpless to protect yourself against power is not a form of rape, what is?”

Wilson’s image of an oil rig burning a hole through the middle of Texas became a sort of rallying cry for Texas environmentalists angry that the state legislature passed a law to invalidate local fracking bans in towns like Denton.

Anti-fracking activists across Texas echoed Wilson’s claims that fracking was raping Texas. Earthworks, where Wilson works, retweeted the blog post, saying, “Our previous RT of @TXsharon was done advisedly. The Texas legislature is trying to pass bill to force city to be fracked against its will.”

One of the leaders of the Mansfield Gas Well Awareness, an environmental group that tried to get Mansfield to ban fracking, jumped on the bandwagon as well.

Tim Ruggiero, who heads up the group ShaleTest, tweeted, “Having Industry even at the table is like asking rapists/robbers their opinion on criminal law statutes.” ShaleTest’s research played a role in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking last year.

But while Wilson and a handful of other activists have endorsed the idea that fracking is rape, other environmental groups have not joined in.