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Mark Ruffalo calls Obama out in open letter condemning fracking's lasting effects on our planet

Mark Ruffalo

(NaturalNews) Mark Ruffalo has become well-known for supporting many environmental organizations in their battle against pro-fracking policies. A popular American actor, director, producer, humanitarian and activist, Ruffalo speaks out against the harmful policies enforced by Big Agri's government ties and other powerful, ethically unsound corporations. Ruffalo even confronted Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant backstage at a CBS news station, telling him that he is "dead wrong" for monopolizing the world's food system, poisoning people and killing bees, according to Celebrity Reputation.

In February 2016 he called for UK Prime Minister David Cameron to ban fracking, stating that "there is NO fracking that can be done safely." And now, Ruffalo is reaching out to Obama in an open letter that condemns fracking, explaining that "actors and artists alike have a responsibility to speak up on social issues," as reported by Variety.

The fracking process and its dangers

According to Dangers of Fracking, fracking is defined as "the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside." There are more than 500,000 active natural gas wells in the U.S. – each of which requires an average of 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the site, since it takes between 1 and 8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job.

This is an enormous drain on water and crude oil resources – but that is only the beginning of the problems associated with fracking. The water that is brought in is mixed with sand and more than 40,000 gallons of chemicals to create fracking fluid. There are over 600 chemicals involved in the production of fracking fluid, and many of them are known carcinogens and dangerous toxins, including lead, mercury, radium and hydrochloric acid, as reported by Dangers of Fracking.

This toxic fracking fluid is pressurized and injected into the ground down a 10,000 foot drilled pipeline. Each well can be fracked up to 18 times – meaning that fracking of each of the 500,000 natural gas wells in the U.S. alone would consume 72 trillion gallons of water, and require 360 billion gallons of chemicals.

Once the fracking fluid reaches the end of the well, the high pressure causes the surrounding shale rock to crack, creating fissures that allow natural gas to flow into the well. At this time, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate the nearby groundwater; methane concentrations have been found to be 17 times higher in drinking water from wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.

This contaminated drinking water supplies nearby cities and towns. There have already been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination in areas near to fracking sites, as well as cases of sensory, respiratory and neurological damage, as reported by Dangers of Fracking. According to Popular Resistance, radiation has also been found to be higher in drinking water from wells near fracking sites, and there are concerns that the contaminated drinking water may cause cancer.

Ruffalo's open letter

Ruffalo explains in his open letter to Obama that he and Robert Kennedy Jr. traveled to the rural community of Dimock, Pennsylvania, and met families whose lives had been devastated by drilling and fracking. Ruffalo states, "Drinking water had been poisoned, the air was polluted with toxins, and families described health impacts including skin lesions, clumps of hair falling out, projectile vomiting, terrible migraines and digestive problems. In some cases, tap water was so full of methane gas that you could light it on fire," as reported by Variety.

Ruffalo believes that, "Because of Obama's complicity, more than 17 million Americans now live within one mile of drilling and fracking operations. These non-consenting victims of Bush/Obama's energy policy have had their drinking water poisoned, their air polluted and their families made sick." Ruffalo concludes by "calling on [Obama] to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin an aggressive series of investigations into the many cases of water contamination from drilling and fracking operations."

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