Petition Delivery Precedes Five Events Across New York
Over 100 NY Municipalities Have Banned or Placed Moratoria on Fracking
ALBANY, NY – Today, members of New Yorkers Against Fracking presented Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office at the State Capitol with over 200,000 petitions from New York constituents demanding the Governor ban the hazardous practice of hydrofracking.
Representatives from consumer, environmental and community groups were joined by State Sen. Tony Avella and Albany Common Council members Dominick Calsolaro and Leah Golby as they urged the Governor to ban hydrofracking for its proven record of contaminating water supplies and the enormous threat it poses to the health and safety of New York’s air, water, food, and communities.
State Senator Tony Avella, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and author of a Senate bill banning hydrofracking (S.4220), stated, “The over 200,000 petitions that are being delivered today to Governor Cuomo exemplify the ever growing grassroots movement towards a complete ban on hydrofracking. Hydrofracking is not worth the risk of contamination to our water, farmlands and communities! We cannot allow the State’s environmental health to be jeopardized at any cost, let alone for an empty promise of an economic boom. New Yorkers from all over the state have spoken and the message is loud and clear; Say No to Hydrofracking!”
“One of the reasons the City of Albany’s Common Council voted for a prohibition on natural gas extraction within the City was to send the strongest message possible to the DEC that ‘fracking’ should not be allowed anywhere in New York State. Our City’s water supply is located 20 miles outside of the City, and the chance that our national award-winning drinking water could be contaminated because ‘fracking’ may not have been banned specifically by another municipality is appalling! All watersheds must be protected from the malevolent affects of ‘fracking,’” said Dominick Calsolaro, Common Council Member for the First Ward in the City of Albany.
Petitions poured in from every corner of the state, with over a dozen grassroots groups involved, including New Yorkers Against Fracking, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, the Working Families Party, Water Defense, Democracy for America, Citizen Action of New York, Credo Action, Capital District Against Fracking, Three Parks Independent Democrats, Frack Free Catskills, Brooklyn For Peace, New Yorkers for Clean Water, the Society for Ethical Culture and Sharon Springs Against Fracking.
“With today’s delivery of over 200,000 petition signatures and even more comments to the DEC calling for a statewide ban on hydrofracking here in New York, it’s clear that New Yorkers don’t want fracking in their communities. Not only is it damaging to our environment, but it’s bad for the economy and won’t provide the jobs that the natural gas industry would like us to believe,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York and co-chair of the Working Families Party.
The delivery comes as over 100 New York towns and cities have banned or placed moratoria on fracking and as support grows for a statewide ban. “As someone with roots in the Southern Tier, I can tell you that there is plenty of concern in communities across that region about the impact of fracking on the health and safety of residents and visitors,” said Albany Common Council Member Leah Golby. “Rather than cave to the drilling industry with talk of a strategy to allow dangerous high volume hydraulic fracturing in NY communities that have not passed local bans, Commissioner Martens and the Governor should take into account the opposition of New Yorkers in every corner of the state, not just those where elected officials have passed a ban. ”
“Today we’re delivering a loud and clear message to Governor Cuomo: New Yorkers want him to stand up to the oil and gas industry and ban fracking,” said Eric Weltman, a Senior Organizer for Food & Water Watch, a national consumer organization. “Fracking is inherently dangerous, and beyond our capacity to regulate. In the final analysis, there are safer alternatives to natural gas, but there are no alternatives to water.”
The event at the State Capitol precedes a May 3rd Day of Action against Fracking with events in five regions calling on Governor Cuomo to ban fracking: Manhattan, Buffalo, Endicott, Stone Ridge and Long Island.
About New Yorkers Against Fracking
New Yorkers Against Fracking, a new coalition of diverse organizations that support a fracking ban, are joining together to tell Governor Cuomo and our leaders in Albany to stand up for New Yorkers to keep our water and our state safe by banning hydrofracking.
Founding members of New Yorkers Against Fracking include statewide and national organizations like Citizen Action of New York, New York State Breast Cancer Network, Food & Water Watch, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Frack Action, Water Defense, the Working Families Party joining with local grassroots anti-fracking groups and business in each part of the state such as Brewery Ommegang, Frack-Free Catskills and Fingerlakes Clean Waters Initiative and many more. The full list of over 50 organizations can be found at: http://www.nyagainstfracking.org/about.
Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., author, biologist, advocate and recent winner of the prestigious Heinz Award for her life’s work, donated a significant portion of her award to help prevent fracking in New York – providing the seed money for this effort. Diagnosed with cancer in her youth, Steingraber is a central voice in the fight against fracking and has devoted her career to understanding the ways in which chemical contaminants in air, water and food endanger human health.
Sandra will serve as an honorary member of the New Yorkers Against Fracking advisory committee.
Joining Sandra as honorary advisory committee members will be Niagara native, former Love Canal resident and founder of Center for Health, Environment and Justice Lois Gibbs and outspoken anti-fracking advocate, actor and upstate resident Mark Ruffalo, the co-founder of Water Defense.
About Hydraulic Fracking:
High volume hydraulic fracturing, combined with horizontal drilling, involves pumping millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand underground to extract natural gas from shale bedrock. Multiple studies show how inherently dangerous it is. Most New Yorkers are wary of fracking. A recent Marist poll found a majority of New Yorkers oppose legalizing fracking due to its potential to contaminate New York’s watersheds with carcinogens and other toxicants.
With or without regulations in place, fracking is a menace to public health. It lays down blankets of smog, fills roadway with trucks hauling hazardous materials, sends sediment into streams, and generates immense quantities of radioactive, carcinogen-laced waste for which no fail-safe disposal options exist.
Since fracking began in states outside of New York, there have been more than a thousand reports of water contamination. New studies link fracking-related activities to contaminated groundwater, air pollution, illness, death and reproductive problems in cows, horses and wildlife, and most recently human health problems. A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health found that those living within a half-mile of a natural gas drilling site faced greater health risks than those who live farther away.
New York has seen a surge of local fracking bans enacted across the state. Overall, 107 muncipalities have enacted bans or moratoria in New York State. Seventy-one municipalities are also considering or staging a ban or moratorium. In the past few weeks,Buffalo, the second largest city in New York, and Niagara Falls both passed resolutions calling for Governor Cuomo and the state legislature to pass a statewide ban on fracking.