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ExxonMobil Prints Misleading Ads as Exxon Subsidiary Fights to Frack in the Delaware River Watershed

May 27, 2011

In the midst of a large-scale public fight against ExxonMobil’s push to frack in the Delaware River Watershed, the oil giant-turned gas giant unveiled a new ad campaign. Carefully written ad copy attempts to create a false sense of security associated with horizontal hydrofracturing, while avoiding mention of any of the actual negative impacts from unconventional gas drilling.

Earlier this week, ExxonMobil ran ads in both the New York Times and Washington Post. One full-page spread confidently reassured readers that natural gas is “an amazing resource for Americans,” and hydraulic fracturing is a “responsible way to produce it.”

An article by ProPublica critiques the inaccuracies of the advertisement by pointing out that the protective layers of cement and steel do not cover the entire expanse of most drills. In fact, the article reminds us:

…that most states require multiple layers of casing for only a short distance underground, so they can protect shallow aquifers… Some wells run for thousands of feet through rock and dirt with no cement or additional steel barrier at all. Only at the very bottom are they again encased in the protective cement.

Protecting Our Waters Director, Iris Marie Bloom, also critiqued the ExxonMobil ad with online comments on ProPublica’s article. She begins by highlighting one key reason why Exxon decided to unveil this pro-fracking ad campaign right now: the Delaware River Basin. She states,

Exxon is fighting for approval of an application to withdraw hundreds of millions of gallons of water, for horizontal hydrofracking, from a pristine trout stream in the Delaware River Basin right now, and the public is fighting back and saying “NO.”

Bloom continues on to highlight that over 7,900 letters have been sent to the Delaware River Basin Commission urging them to deny Exxon’s application, submitted by their subsidiary XTO at the upcoming June 1st’s DRBC hearing. Visit ProPublica’s comment section to read more of Bloom’s remarks.

The publication – and subsequent critique – of ExxonMobil’s ad campaign comes on the heels of their annual shareholder meeting last Wednesday, May 12 2011. Since last year’s $29 billion acquisition of XTO Energy, ExxonMobil is now “the largest natural gas company in the U.S. It now owns more gas than crude oil.”

Yet, as the Associated Press reports, “so far, however, the deal hasn’t paid off.” Even though “Exxon predicts that natural gas will be the fastest-growing energy source, overtaking coal and ranking second only to oil in total use by 2020,” the numbers are not improving in their favor. Read more of the Associated Press’ recent coverage to learn about the progress of ExxonMobil’s interest in natural gas and financial standing.

Learn more about how you can join in Protecting Our Waters’ June 1st action and letter writing campaign to urge the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to reject ExxonMobil’s bid to withdraw water from the Delware River Watershed by clicking here.

2 Comments
  1. August 22, 2012 1:13 pm

    Fracking is so tragic to our wellfare, health and livihood. Most people I know look at me as if I just arrived from outer space when discussing the diabolic outcome from fracking. Or they just ignore it. Most citizens are probably tied into the profits of these companies in retirment portfolios and don’t want to take a stance because the portfolio is too important. One person had the audacity to say it is only 2mile parameter that gets polluted what’s the big deal. It will provide jobs and improve our economy. I am totally divested out of fossil fuel companies I don’t want to garnish any profit from these practices. It is torture enough that I use the car (less frequently) electricity for my home, I am making conscious choices to make my foot print smaller. It is wasteful to consume fossel fuels for car racing, motor bike races, motor boat races do we really need that kind of entertainment?

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  1. Expert: “Hydrofracking sure to contaminate water” « Protecting Our Waters

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