Mark Ruffalo: Be an Avenger for Fracking

Dear Mark Ruffalo,

As an energy researcher I am disappointed that you are using the media attention over your new Avengers movie to attack “fracking”–the revolutionary technology that uses controlled explosives high-pressure water jets to fracture once-useless rock formations so as to release bountiful oil and natural gas.

I have no objection to celebrities getting involved with important political issues–if they understand them. Unfortunately, from the public statements made by you, Ethan Hawke, and other anti-fracking celebrities, it’s clear that no one has taught you the basics of how fracking works and why it is important.

I know it’s hard to be energy-savvy when acting is your full-time job, and especially when you are bombarded with propaganda by “green” advocacy groups that know next to nothing about energy.

So I have a proposal for you.

My organization, the Center for Industrial Progress, will teach you and other celebrities a Fracking 101 course, free of charge, as part of our new outreach program: Energy Education for Celebrities (EEFC).

We are conveniently located in Southern California, and eager to teach you about the following topics:

How fracking actually works.

“That water, those fracking fluids, to my knowledge, are ending up in people’s wells.”
— Mark Ruffalo, on what he calls “toxic” fracking fluids

Here are some points we will cover in the course

  • The groundwater near fracked shale formations averages is, on average 500 feet below the surface and 1200 feet at the absolute most (in Barnett, Texas).
  • Fracking takes place between 4800 and 13000 feet below the surface.
  • The thousands of feet in between the fracking and the water contain layers of dense rock that prevent upward migration of water, gas, or other substances.
  • In the last 60 years, as fracking has been developing, there has not been one credible case of drinking water contamination from the fracking process.
  • Even the head of the Obama Administration’s EPA admitted “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water…”
  • The “toxic” fluids are over 99% water and contain mostly non-toxic chemicals. Some are healthier to drink than Coca-Cola. And if any of the fluids with toxic chemicals got into the groundwater they would be diluted to non-toxic levels.

Wait–then how do you explain the jars of cloudy Pennsylvania water found in “Gasland” and that you use as a prop during political rallies? We cover that in the next section of the course.

What really contaminates groundwater.

“I love my New York Water”
— Ethan Hawke, commercial for

If you love clean water, then you should understand where it comes from and how it gets dirty.

  • The number one contaminator of clean water is Mother Nature. Oil, natural gas, and much more dangerous materials seep into groundwater all the time. That is one cause of cloudy water.
  • Any human activity near groundwater can contaminate groundwater. For example, a well that is badly constructed near the surface can contaminate water. This is what caused the cloudy water in Dimock, PA, that activists blame on fracking. It has nothing to do with fracking.
  • The worst water contamination comes from incredibly toxic mining processes used to make windmills and solar panels; there are plenty of examples of truly toxic water in China.
  • In all cases, the laws we need are clear laws against contamination–no bias against oil and gas.
  • A big key to clean water is producing lots and lots of energy, through fracking and other cheap, plentiful, reliable means. Only with lots of energy can we sanitize and purify the water we drink, getting rid of natural and accidental contaminants.

Why fracking is important.

On the celebrity-backed there is not one mention of where we are supposed to get energy if we are not free to frack.

When you are a millionaire celebrity, it may be easy to lose sight of the importance of cheap, plentiful, reliable energy to Americans. After all, even if your energy bill went up by a factor of 10 (even if it was as big as Al Gore’s) you could probably afford it. So it’s easy to look at any politically-incorrect energy technology and just attack it.

  • Fracking is so popular because it is a revolutionary, secure source of cheap, plentiful, reliable energy. Not to mention secure.
  • Energy is the foundation of our economy. The more cheap energy we can produce, the more productive we can be, the more prosperous we can be.
  • Energy is the foundation of a healthy human environment. Energy is what we need to build sturdy homes, to produce huge amounts of fresh food, to generate heat and air-conditioning, to build  hospitals, to manufacture pharmaceuticals. And, you should remember, it’s necessary to be able to travel around and actually enjoy the most beautiful parts of nature.
  • Your “green” advisors who say solar and wind can give us all the energy we need are not being honest. Solar and wind are nowhere near providing the cheap, plentiful, reliable energy we need; despite huge subsidies for decades around the world, they still provide very expensive, very unreliable energy. That’s why no nation on earth gets its base load power from solar and wind.

That’s some of what we’ll cover in Fracking 101. I’m sure you have a lot of questions, and that’s fine. Bring all your friends. We can also talk about the Keystone Pipeline, nuclear power, and other things you oppose.

I hope you’ll take advantage of Energy Education for Celebrities. See you in class!

Alex Epstein
Director, Center for Industrial Progress