Mark Ruffalo, Fracking Foe


Actor Mark Ruffalo is busy these days getting to smash things and save the world as the Incredible Hulk in the upcoming movie The Avengers. But even though he can’t turn huge and green to show it, there’s one thing that really makes him angry: fracking.

Last week the Natural Resources Defense Council released a video wherein Ruffalo and some fellow New York actors confess that they “love their New York water,” and ask the state to hold off on allowing the controversial natural gas extraction method known as “fracking” at a proposed site in the Marcellus Shale formation in southern New York.

Ruffalo lives near the Delaware River, and has been closely following the issue for three years, he said, after he took a trip to a town in Pennsylvania where fracking was taking place and saw “a community completely torn apart.”

“At first [fracking] looked like a really wonderful thing,” he said, referring to its ability to effectively tap huge reserves of relatively clean-burning natural gas. President Obama has become a proponent of natural gas drilling, and the EPA estimates that shale gas, the kind that would come from the Marcellus formation, will comprise 20 percent of the total US gas supply by 2020. However, Ruffalo is quick to add that he quickly “started to see a lot of really ugly things.”

Things like drinking water with 1,500 times the allowed amount of benzine, which has been linked to leukemia.

Things like homeowners who are advised to turn on fans while showering, lest their houses explode.

Things like undiluted radioactive wastewater in rivers.

Enter Ruffalo. Watch him rail against fracking (and unsuccesfully attempt to fly fish) here:



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  • Tim McDonnell is a journalist who previously worked for Mother Jones. He covers the environment, conflict, and related issues in the United States, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere.