Golden Globe nominated actor-director Mark Ruffalo wrote an editorial for tinsel town’s Variety blasting President Obama for supporting fracking and announcing the release of his film, Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now.
Ruffalo states that in 2010, while living with his family of five on an “idyllic” 50 acre estate in southern New York’s Sullivan County near the Pennsylvania border, he heard about fracking “coming to our town.”
Located in the Catskill Mountains, Sullivan County is only a two hour drive from New York City along Palisades Interstate Pkwy N and NY-17 West. The area, from 1920 to the late 1960’s, was known as the economically thriving community of hundreds of Borscht Belt hotels and resorts.
But since then, the county has gone into severe economic decline. The area was so depressed that in 1987 New York’s mayor Ed Koch proposed buying the Gibber Hotel in Kiamesha Lake to house New York City’s homeless.
Sullivan County’s current median household income is just $36,998, compared to the U.S. national average of $53,657. The median income for males is about $36,110 versus $25,754 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,892, and 17.40 percent of the population are below the poverty line, including 21.60 percent of children under 18-years-old.
Located in the northern edge of the Marcellus Shale Formation, Sullivan County in 2010 had expected to be part of the huge oil fracking boom that was taking place in neighboring Pennsylvania.
Ruffalo states, “Early in my career, I was taught by my teacher, Stella Adler, that actors and artists alike have a responsibility to speak up on social issues.” As a social justice warrior, he “traveled to the rural community of Dimock, Penn., with Robert Kennedy Jr.” to meet families who had had their lives devastated by drilling and fracking.”
According to Ruffalo, he discovered “Drinking water had been poisoned, the air was polluted with toxins, and families described health impacts including skin lesions, clumps of hair falling out, projectile vomiting, terrible migraines and digestive problems. In some cases, tap water was so full of methane gas that you could light it on fire.
At the time, the Gasland movie was being filmed about 44 local residents suing Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.
Forty residents settled for small amounts of money in 2012, after the lawsuit’s scope was narrowed to property and personal nuisance that the water contamination had caused. But on March 10, 2016, the two remaining families won $4.24 million due to negligent shale gas drilling by Cabot Oil and Gas that resulted in water contamination.
Kassie Siegel, of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, commented, “This is a huge victory for the people of Dimock, but it’s also a sharp rebuke to the Obama administration for failing to fully investigate threats posed by fracking and dangerous drilling to water supplies in Pennsylvania and across the country.”
Ruffalo takes credit for working with people across New York State to “stop fracking from destroying lives like it had over the border in Pennsylvania.” He takes credit for encouraging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to listen to more than 500 scientific studies that led the state to ban fracking in 2014 based on serious public health, safety, and environmental risks.
Although he claims to support President Obama for his leadership in addressing climate change and other social issues, Ruffalo says he is “gravely disappointed by his cheerleading for the oil and gas industry over his two terms in office.”
According to Ruffalo, “Because of Obama’s complicity, more than 17 million Americans now live within one mile of drilling and fracking operations. These non-consenting victims of Bush/Obama’s energy policy have had their drinking water poisoned, their air polluted and their families made sick.”
Ruffalo lauds Bernie Sanders’ demand for banning fracking and blasts Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State for reportedly promoting fracking to multiple countries.
To protect the President from being blamed for his legacy of fracking, Ruffalo states, “I made a film called Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now with award-winning filmmaker and National Geographic ‘Ocean Hero’ Jon Bowermaster.”
Mark Ruffalo has a net worth of $20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth blog. He was paid $2.8 million to play the “Hulk” in Avengers: Age of Ultron.