In an extreme effort by the Global Warming / Greenhouse Gas / Fossil Fuel crowd to discredit yet another source of clean, safe energy to run American industry, run cars and heat homes, one member of the “envirodoom” movement says the fracking industry will employ women in record numbers – as hotel maids and prostitutes.
This is the informed view of University of Pittsburgh biologist Sandra Steingraber – a member of “New Yorkers Against Fracking” – who describes the fight over fracking as a feminist issue.
According to Steingraber, who supports a statewide ban in New York on hydraulic fracturing to access previously unrecoverable oil and gas deposits, says:
“Fracking as an industry serves men. Ninety-five percent of the people employed in the gas fields are men. When we talk about jobs, we’re talking about jobs for men, and we need to say that…”
“The jobs for women are ‘hotel maid’ and ‘prostitute…” “So when fracking comes into a community, what we see is that women take a big hit, especially single women who have children who depend on rental housing.”
Fracking industry supporters may have given Steingraber’s opinion too much respect when they pointed to a 2014 report from the American Petroleum Institute that found women filled 226,000 oil, gas and petrochemical industry jobs – or 19 percent of the jobs created.
The report says:
“[W]omen are employed across all job categories, including professional and managerial, office and support, and blue-collar…”
Undeterred, Ms. Steingraber’s speech entitled “Fracking is a Feminist Issue: Women Confronting Fossil Fuels and Petrochemicals in an Age of Climate Emergency” comes after Texas anti-drilling activist Sharon Wilson compared fracking to rape in a March 30 post on Twitter and her blog.
“Fracking victims I have worked with describe it as a rape. It is a violation of justice and it is despoiling the land,” Ms. Wilson said in her blog, TXSharon’s BlueDaze. “Victims usually suffer PTSD.”
Industry supporters say that opponents a trying to cast fracking as a “man-only” industry because the drilling process itself is physically demanding. In North Dakota, the industry built communities nicknamed “man camps” for workers unable to find housing in the sparsely populated state.
Steingraber was also criticized by the fracking industry for her role in a “peer reviewed” research paper supporting New York’s fracking ban while advocating said ban on the fracking process.
In an interview with Fox News, Steingraber said she had been “absolutely objective” in her review of the paper, whose authors included scientists openly affiliated with anti-fracking groups including Global Community Monitor and the Center for Environmental Health.
Writing in The Washington Times, Valerie Richardson said acting New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker cited the paper during a December 2014 state cabinet meeting where he recommended a statewide fracking ban despite calls for the state to lift its moratorium on fracking to help economically depressed areas in upstate New York.
Predictably, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to the statewide ban that garnered instant praise from Ms. Steingraber in a January 22 article for EcoWatch called “How We Banned Fracking in New York.”
It is not known whether Commissioner Zucker or Governor Cuomo took the loss of jobs in the prostitution and maid industries into account before making their decision to ban fracking in the Empire State.