Criminalize Fracking


Activists in New York have drafted legislation that would criminalize the practice of hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking.

The law was drafted by the Sovereign People Action Network (SPAN) of Ulster and Green counties.

“In early summer, seeing so many anti-fracking people across the state pouring their time, resources and hopes into the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), we began drafting a law to rip decision making from this illegitimate agency, and drive it into our state legislature,” Richard Grossman, one of the members of SPAN, told Corporate Crime Reporter.

“Our law criminalizes fracking and fracking-related activities,” Grossman said. “Corporate frackers would be Class C felons.”

“In August, a bunch of anti-frackers from different parts of the state, representing various anti-fracking groups, participated in three sequential workshops I presented on at the New York Green Fest gathering in Western New York,” Grossman said.

“Some decided to join SPAN on criminalization.”

“Together we came up with the current draft of the law. We are now creating a new coalition group to concentrate on compelling the legislature to pass our law.”

“This law is not a magic bullet, of course. We could never pass it unless we build a mass movement in New York.”

The legislation has yet to be introduced into the New York State legislature.

“We met with a state Senator who wanted to learn more about it,” Grossman said. “But he was pretty resistant. That’s okay. This work will take time.”

Grossman wouldn’t identify the Senator.

“To his credit, he met with us twice,” Grossman said. “He was patient and courteous, we had some healthy conversations.”

“We have no illusions about the New York State Legislature. But theoretically at least, that is where laws are made. And that’s where sovereign people go to instruct our representatives. Our approach to our legislators is: we wrote this law – now you pass it.”

“But we know we can’t do that until we build a formidable statewide movement that is not only talking about fracking as a destructive technology, but also about illegitimate rule by a very small corporate class.”

“We’re hoping to move the exciting struggle to prevent the fracking of New York State from the dead end, energy sink regulatory realm to the place where sovereign people make law, decide what is anti-social behavior.”

“We have no illusions about our state legislature. Both houses are tyrannies. Most of the legislators are colonized. We understand that part of our task is to re-make our legislature, and our legislators. And that to do this, anti-frackers and others confronting diverse assaults of illegitimate private governance must build a powerful state-wide movement.”

“Our new state-wide coalition is only now coming together. We haven’t begun taking our message across the state. I can say that whenever any of us talks to folks, their response is – of course fracking should be criminalized, should be declared felonious.”

“But we’re still under the radar,” Grossman said. “I don’t think it will take long to emerge. Think back to the evolution of the anti-nuclear movement.”

“The fracking struggle involves most of the giant corporations of the country, not just business and industrial corporations, but also law corporations and insurance corporations.”

“The whole corporate class and its vast usurping structures of governance and propaganda are behind fracking.”

“The reasons are clear: the corporate class is committed to endless more.”

“The fuel for endless more is constantly expanding energy.”

“So people opposing fracking for oil and gas and water are standing up not just to a few giant energy corporations, but to the entire corporate class, and to their vast corporate state, just like the anti-nukers of yore.”

“In New York, people are already organized in hundreds of groups. We think this legislation will help unify anti-frackers, so that one day in the not too distant, the State of New York will declare fracking, corporate frackers, and fracking-related activities to be Class C felonies.”

“We will be provoking conversation and discussion about the histories and realities of minority rule and usurpation that we’ve been talking about here. It’s my hope that unlike the anti-nuclear movement – that magnificently stopped the construction of 850 nuclear radiation factories – New Yorkers will criminalize fracking in ways that begin to challenge the corporate state, that set new and liberating conversations in motion, that begin asserting we the people’s authority to govern our communities and our state.”

Rusell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.

[For the complete transcript of the Interview with Richard Grossman, see 25 Corporate Crime Reporter 40, October 17, 2011, print edition only.]



Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
Lars Jørgensen
Vive la Résistance
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
James Anderson
Reframing Black Friday: an Imperative for Déclassé Intellectuals
Simon Bowring
UN Climate Talks 2009: a Merger of Interest and Indifference
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxemburg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
Aidan O'Brien
Same-Sex Sellout in Ireland
David Stocker
Report from the Frontline of Resistance in America
Patrick Bond
China Sucked Deeper Into World Financial Vortex and Vice Versa, as BRICS Sink Fast
Majd Isreb
America’s Spirit, Syrian Connection
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
Charles R. Larson
Chronicle of Sex Reassignment Surgery: Juliet Jacques’s “Trans: a Memoir”
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
CounterPunch’s Favorite Films
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving