New York Governor Andrew Cuomo began to lift the ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its draft statement on fracking last week. The draft statement recommended that fracking be allowed in most areas of the state except the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, which leaves about 85 percent of the state open to fracking.
A coalition of non-profit groups demanded a statewide fracking ban. The Food & Water Watch, which is part of the coalition, calls it a “coalition of 47 consumer, faith, food, environmental and multi-issue advocacy organizations.” The coalition sent a letter signed by representatives from the 47 groups. About 150 people held a protest in Albany, calling for a statewide ban. The protestors held a press conference, then marched to the second floor of the capitol where they delivered the letter to Cuomo’s office.
“The DEC’s recommendations on fracking will turn many areas of New York into sacrifice zones, allowing this toxic, polluting practice at the detriment of public health, the environment and rural economies,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “We urge Governor Cuomo to protect New York and its residents over the special interests of the oil and gas industry by banning hydraulic fracturing in New York State.”
“It’s wrong and unfair for the Cuomo administration to lift the ban on fracking, as it is a technology that has proven to destroy land, water, public health and economic growth,” said Lois Marie Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. Gibbs went on to say that allowing the rest of the state’s watersheds to be opened up to “hazardous drilling” is “despicable.”
“Fracked natural gas is a dirty fuel that will make global warming worse,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner, Friends of the Earth. “Governor Cuomo should put clean water and a safe environment ahead of gas company profits.”
A letter written by Maura Stephens, co-founder of the Coalition to Protect New York, urges Cuomo to “not even consider lifting the moratorium” and tells him to “not succumb to industry/Wall Street pressure” by putting ” profits before our health.”