For Immediate Release
Community Organizing Wins Significant Victories on Fracking and Other Key Issues
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON - “In the aftermath of an election with negative implications for the Democratic establishment, grassroots victories on fracking and water privatization indicate that Americans are still willing to vote on crucial issues that directly affect their families and communities.
“Residents of Athens, Ohio; San Benito County and Mendocino County, California; and Denton, Texas all successfully voted to ban fracking in their communities. This is huge news, and an indication that more and more Americans are rejecting oil and gas industry hyperbole, as well as this destructive, toxic process. To date, 136 communities in the U.S. have banned fracking, and that number is only likely to grow.
“These victories are particularly significant because grassroots efforts managed to prevail despite being outspent by the oil and gas industry. In San Benito County alone, the oil industry spent about $2 million attempting to defeat a fracking ban.
“Likewise, voters went to the polls in Reading, Pennsylvania and Sussex Borough, New Jersey to prevent corporations from privatizing their respective water systems.
“A ballot measure in Oregon to label GMO foods is still too close to call, a substantial feat considering the fact that major corporations spent some $20 million trying to defeat this grassroots effort.
“In this post Citizens United era, the 2014 election cycle was marked by record spending on ads, low voter turnout and shocking voting rights abuses. It seems that relying merely on TV ads to win seats in a handful of swing states has once again proven ineffective, and the Republican-light strategy has once again failed Democrats. The bottom line is that when communities organize in the public interest, they win important victories for the public, no matter who controls Congress.”
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.