More than a thousand protesters chanting "Ban Fracking Now!" crowded into Albany's Empire State Plaza concourse where lawmakers had to pass on their way to Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State speech. Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.
New York has been looking into hydraulic fracturing for more than four years: a moratorium was declared in 2010 to allow regulators to conduct an environmental review and develop rules. Governor Andrew Cuomo didn't explicitly mention fracking in his State of the State address - which didn't surprise Frack Action Communication Director John Armstrong.
Dr. Sandra Steingraber of New Yorkers Against Fracking takes issue with a leaked document written by New York’s Department of Health in early 2012 that says fracking could be conducted safely if certain regulations are followed. She is calling on the Governor to shed transparency on all fracking data gathered to date.
The rally was highlighted by appearances from some of the celebrities on the front lines against fracking; Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant and Debra Winger. The activists were satisfied that they delivered a clear message calling for the governor to reject fracking, implement a statewide ban, and be a leader in clean, renewable energy for New York and the nation.
Dominic Frongillo is Deputy Supervisor and Councilor of Caroline, in Tompkins County, where 55% of town land is leased for drilling, and where fracking has been banned.
New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau was not available for comment but issued a statement saying safe natural gas development will provide thousands and thousands of good jobs throughout the Marcellus Shale - quote - “We remain confident the Governor recognizes the need to move forward with safe natural gas development, and respect his timeline. But there is no question that for the State of the Southern Tier to be as strong as the people there deserve, hydraulic fracturing is the clear answer.”