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.”
— frackfreedenton (@frackfreedenton) March 30, 2015
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.
— Q (@quijibo999) March 30, 2015
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.
— Tim Ruggiero (@TimRuggiero) April 2, 2015
But while Wilson and a handful of other activists have endorsed the idea that fracking is rape, other environmental groups have not joined in.