Last night, actor and water-safety crusader Mark Ruffalo appeared on “The Colbert Report” to discuss hydro-fracking and launch Water Defense’s “Natural Gas Exxposed” campaign, which will “tell the stories of Americans whose lives have been shattered by gas drilling.” Stephen Colbert — the show’s faux republican host — didn’t give him much of a chance to plug the campaign, but Ruffalo was able to talk about his “beef with our energy industry.”
As the Water Defense founder explains to Colbert, “long gone are the days when we just stick a straw in the ground and get beautiful, concentrated, carbon-based fuel.” The new methods to obtain fuel — hydro-fracking, tar sands, mountain-top removal, and deep-sea drilling to name a few — all destroy water, Ruffalo explains, noting hydro-fracking in particular.
“We’ve seen this kind of publicity push to get hydro-fracking up, but we haven’t seen the opposition,” Ruffalo explains.
Hydro-fracking is a method of natural gas removal that involves pumping a water-chemical mixture into shale to cause fractures in the rock and release gas. While Colbert jokes the gas is “trapped underground, where it is very dangerous,” Ruffalo adds that the mixture used to release the gas contains 150,000 gallons of chemicals per well.
Ruffalo argues America has the technology to move toward renewable energy production, explaining he has a 14 kW solar array in his backyard.
“In my backyard I have a giant pool of oil that I set on fire at night,” Colbert responds.
The two end up in what appears to be a mock-fight about the potential of solar energy (around 4:15 in the video), with Colbert exclaiming, “You can’t run your car on the sun! It is huge and super hot! You’ll use all the energy to run your air conditioner!”
Colbert and Ruffalo also discuss the ads — sometimes even aired on Comedy Central — that promote hydro-fracking as a means to create jobs. “Have you seen those ads, with a kind of non-threateningly attractive blonde lady, walking through the white environment, saying one million jobs?” Colbert asks. Ruffalo even admits he believed them at first, but then he “went to Dimock, PA, and I saw what it does to families…These people can’t drink the water that’s coming out of their tap.”
Here’s one ad with a blonde woman, paid for by the American Petroleum Institue: