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September 5th, 2012

Memo to Governor Cuomo: We’ll Remember in 2016

By Wenonah Hauter

This ad will appear in the news section of tomorrow’s print edition of the Charlotte Observer. For the full-sized ad, click on the image above.

Dear Governor Cuomo,

True leaders help us forge solutions to difficult problems. And nowhere are new solutions needed more than in our energy sector, because we are currently using dirty fossil fuels at an unsustainable pace. Oil and gas extraction uses and abuses our precious freshwater resources, which are becoming scarcer and more polluted, thanks in large part to our reliance on fossil fuels. It’s a vicious cycle, and we need true solutions.  

But instead, Governor Cuomo, you seem poised to issue regulations that would pave the way for even more dirty energy development—the development of shale gas reserves in New York State through hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). Opening up New York to fracking won’t happen without a fight—one that might cost you the White House in 2016.

When you arrive in Charlotte tomorrow for the Democratic National Convention, you’ll see we took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer to remind you that your decision on fracking will have repercussions way beyond New York, way beyond tomorrow. And we aren’t the only ones that think so. Over 100 grassroots, environmental and community groups nationwide endorsed our ad, all of them telling you that there is no safe fracking, and that the road to the White House is not lined with drilling rigs.

Governor Cuomo, Democrats in your own state have said that drilling could harm your presidential ambitions. Now, at the convention, you’re hearing from progressives around the country that this is an election issue. What will it take for you to listen to your base instead of the oil and gas industry?

People are angry that your administration shared the draft regulations with the oil and gas industry weeks before they were made public. This will remind voters of the time Dick Cheney met with energy officials in 2005, where they developed the so-called Halliburton Loophole, which exempts the oil and gas industry from key federal environmental legislation like the Safe Drinking Water Act and provisions of the Clean Air Act. Backroom deals with the oil and gas industry will not serve you in your pursuit of higher office.

Now, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has given his tacit endorsement of your rumored plan to sacrifice the Southern Tier of New York to the oil and gas industry, so long as New York City isn’t affected. His foundation also gave the Environmental Defense Fund $6 million dollars to pave the way for the development of so-called “safe” fracking, even though we know there is no such thing.

Why is Bloomberg supporting fracking? He says we need to move away from coal, and that wind and solar aren’t viable. This is a classic industry talking point, and it’s a cop-out. As Bill Maher recently said on his show, stating that wind and solar aren’t viable is like saying 100 years ago that cars aren’t going to replace horses.

It might be tempting to take cover behind prominent individuals and groups who have given in to the oil and gas industry’s tired refrain that shale gas development is inevitable. But true leaders look past the naysayers and those who have long since compromised their ideals to work within the game as defined by entrenched political interests. True leaders find real solutions.

So, Governor Cuomo, should you go forward with fracking, Wall Street billionaires and industry-funded non-profits will not provide you the political cover you’ll need to withstand the ire of committed grassroots groups who are fighting the oil and gas industry profiteers. We need leaders who can make the tough decisions that would forge the cleaner energy alternatives we need. Groups across the country are looking at New York to see whether you will provide that leadership or whether you will open New York to fracking. .

Fracking is an issue that is not only widely felt; it is deeply felt. Governor Cuomo, if you frack New York, we will remember in 2016.

6 Comments on Memo to Governor Cuomo: We’ll Remember in 2016

  1. Julie Huntsman says:

    Well done, Food & Water Watch! Great ad and letter – keep up your great work!

  2. If Andy thinks his future is in gas drilling, it may not turn out to be the future he hoped for…see the video for a glimpse of the Gas Devil’s coming nightmare.

  3. Aileen Cheetham says:

    Crikey. All this sounds Fracking dangerous and destructive. We can use all Solar,wind and wave, we need to pressure men like Cuomo

  4. Tom Pendergast says:

    Both Lisa Jackson, chief of the Federal EPA, and John Hanger, past head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, have conducted extensive surveys on the impact that fracking has had on our drinking water supplies. Both have stated that no case of drinking water contamination has been attributable to fracking.
    Over the past six years there have been more than 3,000 gas and oil wells drilled in Pennsylvania using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing and, of course, many times that number across the nation.
    I’m sure you’ve watched the video “Gasland.” May I recommend that you also watch “Truthland”?

  5. duke liddell says:

    As far as I know fraking has been going on for decades,without any major problems.It seems that once it became an alternative to coal which is definitely polluting, we suddenly hear all the environmentalists jumping on the band wagon to, ‘stop fracking’.
    When will we finally get some reasonableness in our discussions rather than these crazy folks who want to stop anything and everything that is not wind or solar?
    It would be wonderful if we could survive on wind and solar,but we can’t,at least not now.
    Rather than yelling about fracking; why not keep a close control over it to insure that it’s done without causing any damage.We do have rules and laws that supposedly protect us from accidents.That’s why we have the EPA
    Let’s stop all this manic activity and look at the alternatives.If we continue to say no to everything except wind and solar, we’ll be back living in caves.
    A little rationality goes a long way.
    Cheers Duke

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