WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Jewish Council for Public Affairs expressed concerns about “fracking,” a technique used to extract underground deposits of natural gas.
The JCPA statement issued Tuesday noted that last week’s annual plenum of the consensus-driven public policy umbrella approved a resolution highlighting the potential benefits and drawbacks of the process known as “hydrofracking,” which extracts “vast amounts of natural gas from previously inaccessible underground deposits.”
JCPA noted in its resolution that the process has the “potential to yield significant environmental, economic and national-security benefits.”
However, the JCPA also expressed “serious concerns about known and as yet unknown impacts.”
It called for a number of measures to assess the impact of fracking and to prevent its hazards. It called for studies on how hydrofracking impacts “groundwater sources, surface water sources, air quality, human and animal health, infrastructure and ecosystems” to be conducted with “urgency” by state and federal regulatory agencies.
Jewish groups in recent years been have committed to seeking energy alternatives as a means of reducing dependence on foreign oil, but also are known for their commitment to preserving the environment.
A number of environmental groups allege that the process releases poisonous gases into the soil and into water supplies.
“This resolution reaffirms the Jewish community’s commitment to both protect the environment and ensure domestic energy for a growing economy,” JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow said in the statement. “We look forward to cleaner and more stable alternatives to our dangerous reliance on foreign oil. Ensuring that our own energy needs be met responsibly and safely is an acknowledgement of our broad obligations to the world.”