One year ago today, Food & Water Watch and our grassroots allies did what many said was impossible: New York Governor Cuomo announced his plan to ban fracking in New York.
It took years of relentless organizing, but we built a massive grassroots movement powerful enough to beat the oil and gas industry. And through it all, your support made it possible.
A lot of people ask how we did it. Here's how:
We called for what was right, not what was easy. And we held firm — no compromises and no communities sacrificed to protect others.
We had a clear decision maker, Governor Cuomo, and we made the issue impossible for him to ignore by showing up at as many public events as possible. In fact, he once commented that we were "literally everywhere."
We joined forces. Food & Water Watch was a founding member of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a statewide coalition that brought together hundreds of local organizations, enabled a coordinated strategy and amplified the message that we were all fighting for the same thing.
We focused on health. Emerging health studies and visits to drilling sites in heavily fracked Pennsylvania made it clear that fracking has dangerous health impacts. Ultimately, the state's acting health commissioner recommended to the governor that fracking not be allowed to go forward.
We never let up. From Buffalo to New York City and points in between, we relentlessly followed the governor, showing up at fundraisers, state fairs and speaking events with signs, chants and bullhorns. What we wanted was clear, and he knew we weren't going away.
And, finally, he listened, ultimately telling us, "You really did a great job of making your voice heard, and that’s what democracy’s all about."
This victory gave us a roadmap to stop fracking everywhere. We won a moratorium on fracking in Maryland, and more than 500 communities have taken action against fracking to date.
Beating big oil and gas took a highly coordinated campaign and significant resources. Donations from supporters like you made a difference on a daily basis, enabling us to hire field staff, print educational materials and signs, bus people to rallies and drilling site tours, hold film screenings, collect and deliver petitions, host coalition calls and call-in days, train volunteers, turn people out to the governor's events and conduct critical research to back up our position.
Every piece was essential in focusing real people power to overcome the money power of the oil and gas industry.
We were able to keep the fracking industry from gaining a foothold in New York, and, less than a year later, New York Governor Cuomo vetoed a proposed liquefied natural gas facility called Port Ambrose off the coast of Long Island and New Jersey! This project would have locked us into decades of continued reliance on fossil fuels, since this port could have been used to import gas from overseas or to export fracked gas from the United States.
Even with these critical victories in New York, too many communities across the country are still being fracked, and people are getting sick because of what's in their air and water — including our neighbors in Pennsylvania, who worked with us to protect New York. Keeping fracking out of New York was just the beginning — we won't rest until communities everywhere are safe from fracking.
Because we don't take money from the government or corporations, Food & Water Watch can take uncompromising stands on issues like fracking and fight for what's right. But that also means we rely on your support to remain independent and take bold action to protect our food and water.
It's time we made fracking a thing of the past. Please donate today and help ban fracking everywhere.