Hundreds of college students from across New York marched to the Capitol Monday calling on the Governor to ban hydraulic fracturing… Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.
The rally began at 10am along the banks of the Hudson River at Albany’s Corning Preserve. About a hundred college students from more than 25 campuses across new York assembled for a march through downtown Albany up to the State Capitol. Laura Smith attends Vassar – she’s part of “The Green Umbrella Team” which held a weekend conference on environmental justice entitled "Power Shift New York" to prepare students for the rally – Caroline Cowley came up from Brooklyn to participate in the action.
The action comes on the heels of an announcement by Broome County Community College in Binghamton that the school is ready to begin a three-week, intensive program to certify roustabouts, or general laborers on a drilling rig. Broome is one of five community colleges in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York participating in a coalition called ShaleNET. Funded by a three-year, $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, ShaleNET focuses on recruiting, training and placing people in high-priority, entry-level natural gas jobs.
Rallygoers staged a short skit at the top of the Capitol’s Million Dollar Staircase - theatrics included a mock "wedding" between gas companies and politicians - before marching off to the Governor’s office to hand-deliver a letter imploring Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking…
But some insiders suggest fracking will be allowed and permits will slowly be issued to operations in the Souther Tier, where the New York Farm Bureau’s Nat Helligan says natural gas drilling will help the economically hard-hit area. Both sides of the gas-drilling issue join Governor Cuomo in awaiting word from the DEC as to whether fracking will be allowed in the Empire State.