Hydrofracking

Hydrofracking (2012)

(Acknowledging both the JCPA and RA resolutions on this subject which are the basis for this resolution)

Background

Energy independence is an environmentally sound precept and should be pursued. In Genesis 2:15, God commands us “to work the earth and to protect it” (l’ovdah ul’shomrah), and in the rich tradition of laws based on Deuteronomy 20:19, not to destroy wantonly (bal tashhit) any part of the created world.

Hydraulic Fracturing, also known as hydrofracturing or fracking, is the extraction of natural gas from previously impermeable shale. The process uses one to four million gallons of water withdrawn from streams and rivers, sand, and 20,000 pounds of chemicals injected at high pressure into horizontally drilled wells, some as deep as 10,000 feet below the surface. The pressure causes the shale to crack. These cracks are held open by the sand particles and chemicals to allow the natural gas to escape.

Hydrofracking is underway in a number of states and provinces and is being considered in several more.

Resolution

WHEREAS, serious questions have been raised regarding the effects of injected chemical agents, runoff into streams and rivers, and the possible changing of the environmental structure of the shale itself deep within the earth caused by hydrofracking,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism:

  • Calls on the appropriate authorities in the U.S. and Canada to require companies undertaking this process of hydrofracking to provide full disclosure to the appropriate governmental authorities of all materials used before, during and after the hydrofracking process (This includes levels and concentrations of toxicity, without exceptions for ‘trade secrets’, and assuring that all contracts with landowners clearly include this information. Appropriate safeguards to protect public health and the environment should be adopted and enforced based on the identification of impacts.);
  • Calls on sisterhoods to participate in educational programs both in the Jewish and the general communities about the potential benefits and risks of hydrofracking;
  • Calls on sisterhoods to educate their communities about the extraction of natural gas and oil by hydrofracking and about relevant Jewish perspectives on the issue; and
  • Calls on sisterhoods to support the preservation of unique and/or sensitive areas by encouraging local entities to put them off limits to gas drilling to be determined by an appropriate science-based process.