For Immediate Release:
June 14, 2012
In response to yesterday’s news that Governor Cuomo’s Administration planned to allow fracking in certain counties, New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of diverse organizations that oppose fracking, held a series of six rallies throughout the state. The coalition, which is made up of over 100 national, statewide and local organizations, organized the rallies to send a message to the Governor and State Legislators that fracking is too dangerous to allow in any part of the state, and allowing fracking only in impoverished areas is an environmental injustice.
“Sending a polluting industry into our most economically impoverished communities is a violation of environmental justice,” said New Yorkers Against Fracking founder Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., a biologist and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College. ”The pregnant mother who drinks unfiltered water from a rural well in the Susquehanna River valley has the same right to environmental protection as the mother in Manhattan who drinks unfiltered water brought to her from the off-limits New York City watershed.”
At least one Southern Tier community is already struggling with excess cancer rates and birth defects as a result of past boom-and-bust industrial practices that have left plumes of contaminated groundwater in their wake.
“We hope that Governor Cuomo will rethink this plan,” said Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy. “He has an opportunity to protect New York from an industry that has been proven to make our water and food unsafe and lead totoxic spills and explosions.”
Rallies were organized in Rockville Center (in Senate Majority Leader Skelos’district), Brooklyn, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany (at the Governor’s office).
“We don’t think it is acceptable for Governor Cuomo to allow the gas industry to prey on the poorest New Yorkers,” said John Armstrong of Frack Action. “This is an issue of environmental injustice to turn the Southern Tier into one giant Love Canal.”
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 Cornell 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 humanhealth 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, over 100 towns and counties have enacted bans or moratoria in New York State. Almost one hundred more municipalities are also considering or staging a ban or moratorium. In recent months,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.
About New Yorkers Against Fracking
New Yorkers Against Fracking, is 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 Partyjoining with local grassroots anti-fracking groups and business in each part of the state such as Brewery Ommegang, Frack-Free Catskills and FingerlakesClean Waters Initiative and many more. The full list of over 100 organizations can be found at:http://www.nyagainstfracking.org/members.
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 serves as an honorary member of the New Yorkers Against Fracking advisory committee. Joining Sandra as honorary advisory committee members are Niagara native, former Love Canal resident and founder of Center for Health, Environment and Justice Lois Gibbs and outspoken anti-fracking advocate and upstate resident and actor Mark Ruffalo, co-founder of Water Defense.