“I think he ignores us at his own moral peril,” the “Gasland” director and fracking opponent told POLITICO in an interview last week.
“History will be the judge,” Fox added. “When you talk about chemicals in the ground, those chemicals have Barack Obama’s initials on them. Obama is the guy who presided over more fracking than [George W.] Bush. Is fracking going to be Obama’s legacy?”
Fox called Obama’s record on fracking “extremely disappointing,” saying the president has not taken activists’ concerns about the technique seriously. He said Obama has also largely turned a blind eye to his pleas to meet with people who have suffered harm because of hydraulic fracturing.
“To ignore the largest grass-roots movement on the environment in several decades when you’re a president that was elevated by the grass-roots movement, when you are a president who was elected by those same people, that to me is an abdication of responsibility. It’s negligence,” the Oscar-nominated director said. “I have to go to the president and call him out even though I’m a supporter of him on many, many, many other issues. It’s difficult.”
If you’ve got a polluted aquifier–the gas companies didn’t do that. President Obama made that happen. (Forgive this attempt at humor)
First of all, fracking has just started to become widespread in the past few years so it naturally follows that more wells were drilled under Obama than under President Busch. This is has almost nothing to do with Obama unless you had hoped that he would, during the worst recession since the Great Depression, cripple the fracking industry through the EPA.
Here’s the bigger problem: President Obama doesn’t agree with Josh Fox or the environmentalists on fracking. Obama has repeatedly touted the benefits of fracking. In the court of public opinion, support for banning hydraulic fracturing is in the minority in the United States. From the most recent data easily found, 57% of Americans supported increased fracking for oil and gas, while only 22% opposed.
Fox is the leader of a passionate group of mostly young, liberal individuals who (among other things) would like to stop hydraulic fracturing. In that position Fox is sort of required, much like a politician, to say whatever is necessary to keep his base (who in this case to an extent are also his customers if they’ve paid to view his documentary) happy and fighting the good fight. This is why he doesn’t address the fact that their position is in the minority, even among left-leaning national policy makers. In fact, he does the opposite, implying that the “science” is on his side:
“What we’re really doing is saying: ‘President Obama, look, this is crazy. We have to have a government that is based on science,’” Fox said.
Obama is no stranger to Power Shift. He met with conference organizers at the White House in 2011, where activists say he told them, “My job is to govern; your job is to push me.”
More broadly, Fox said there will be consequences in the years ahead if the Democratic Party doesn’t listen to progressive opposition to fracking.
“If we’re building a society based on human rights and democracy, you simply cannot ignore this outcry,” he said. He added, “The leaders of the 21st century are going to be people who take on this issue.”
This is a perfect example of how “science” is used as this vague authoritative term to insist that your policy positions are the correct ones. Unfortunately for Fox, there’s also lots of peer-reviewed “science” which supports fracking for gas.