49 Groups Call on Cuomo for Statewide Fracking Ban
Broad-Based Coalition Denounces DEC Fracking Plan, Demands Protection for all New Yorkers From Fracking
Albany, N.Y.— Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to allow the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) across 85 percent of New York’s Marcellus Shale, a coalition of 49 consumer, faith, food, environmental and multi-issue advocacy organizations today called for a statewide ban on fracking. The coalition includes several national and state organizations including Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Credo Action, Center for Heath Environment and Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Citizen Action New York.
Last week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its recommendations on fracking, allowing the practice in most areas of the state outside of the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The DEC’s plan, which informed Governor Cuomo’s decision, leaves many New Yorkers without equal protection from the environmental and public health risks associated with fracking, and still exposes New York City and Syracuse residents to many impacts of shale gas drilling, including toxic air emissions.
“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.”
Under the DEC’s plan, thousands of new wells will be drilled across New York, using billions of gallons of fresh water, and industrializing rural communities across the state. Opponents of fracking fear that allowing the practice to flourish in some areas will breed catastrophic accidents that could affect all New York residents.
“Has governor Cuomo been hoodwinked by industry into thinking this is safe? The fact remains that New York needs to have some serious fundamental questions answered about the dangers of hydro- fracturing, not just carve out some special places to placate New York City,” said Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.
“Governor Cuomo got it wrong when he said fracking can be done safely,” said Claire Sandberg, Executive Director of Frack Action. “Not only does this practice carry an unacceptable level of risk, but there is no rationale for drilling when we know that the promises of limitless energy and continuous economic growth are not borne out by the facts.”
The coalition also presented Governor Cuomo with a letter signed by 49 organizations urging him to ban fracking in New York.
“By banning fracking in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, the Cuomo administration is clearly demonstrating awareness about the potential for serious hazard to the citizens of those municipalities,” said David Braun, co-founder of United for Action. “ It is unacceptable however, that they create a double standard and leave the rest of the good citizens of New York state completely vulnerable to serious toxic threat, and protect only a portion of the population. Why are upstate citizens any less important?”
“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.”
This opposition to fracking heats up here as other states have passed legislation banning the practice. Last week, the New Jersey State legislature sent Governor Chris Christie a bill that would ban fracking in the state, and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed fracking. To date, more than 60 municipalities in the United States have passed measures against fracking.
“It’s clear that New Yorkers strongly oppose fracking, and want all of their water protected from it. Nearly 20,000 New Yorkers signed our petition to Governor Cuomo in just the first 24 hours,” said Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager, CREDO Action. “It would be outrageous for Governor Cuomo to allow fracking in New York.”
A recent investigative series by The New York Times found that the natural gas industry has exaggerated the economic benefits of fracking, while downplaying its risks to public health and the environment.
“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. “It is especially despicable to provide an exception for the Syracuse and New York City watersheds, while opening up the rest of the state to hazardous drilling. If it’s too dangerous for these urban areas, then it is too dangerous for all of New York. People across the state deserve equal protection. Governor Cuomo, don’t frack New York!”
Opponents of fracking worry that Cuomo’s support of the practice in some areas of New York signals a deference to industry. Thousands of New Yorkers have called Governor Cuomo’s offices asking him to ban fracking and hundreds of concerned citizens have flooded his Facebook page, asking him to assert real leadership by banning fracking in New York.
Groups urging Governor Cuomo to ban fracking in New York include:
Food & Water Watch; Frack Action; CREDO Action; Center for Health, Environment & Justice; Citizen Action of New York; Friends of the Earth; Democracy for America; NYH20; Damascus Citizens for Sustainability; United for Action; WBAI-FM, NYC; New York Residents Against Drilling; WaterDefense; FarmHearts; Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group; Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition; Brooklyn Food Coalition; “Gasland”; Sane Energy Project; NY Permaculture Exchange; WNY Drilling Defense; No Frack NY; The Village Independent Democrats; Advocates for Morris; New Yorkers for Clean Water Inc.; NO Gas Pipeline; FrackAlert, Inc.; The Green Sanctuary Committee, the Community Church of NY, Unitarian Universalist; Action for Justice Committee, the Community Church of NY, Unitarian Universalist; Westchester for Change; Democracy for New York City; People for a Healthy Environment; New York Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends; Environmental Task Force; Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water; Empire State Consumer Project; Slow Food New York City; STARK and Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition; Hudson River Sloop, Clearwater Inc.; Earth Day Network New York; Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy; Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County; NYC Network; Huntington BC Action Coalition; Coalition to Protect New York; Moving in Congregations, Acting in Hope; Clean Water New York; Gray Panthers, NYC Network; Schoharie Valley Watch; Grassroots Environmental Education.
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-2500, kfried(at)fwwatch.org.
Frack Action is engaged in a long-term campaign to protect our water, air and public health from the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing. By raising awareness and empowering the public to organize in defense of their communities, we seek to expose the false claims of the gas industry and mobilize a citizen movement to protect our health and our future.
NYH2O, Inc. is a nonprofit advocacy group based in New York City that is dedicated to protecting New York’s water resources from the threat posed by the gas extraction industry. The industry has targeted the Southern Tier of New York State, including New York City’s Catskill-Delaware Watershed that provides pristine, unfiltered water to 9 million New York residents. NYH2O seeks to educate the public concerning the health, environmental and economic impacts of gas drilling as experienced by communities across the country where this intensive, industrial activity has taken place. NYH2O will support legislation that safeguards the public from the risk to water resources and air quality that ultimately threatens the health of our community.
Protecting the watersheds for all citizens. Damascus Citizens for Sustainability is collaborating with universities, national, regional, and local organizations, business and community leaders, elected officials, farmers, artists, and citizens to preserve and protect clean air, land, and pure water as a civil right, and basic human right.
Catskill Mountainkeeper is a community based environmental advocacy organization, dedicated to creating a flourishing sustainable economy in the Catskills and preserving and protecting the area’s long- term health. We address issues of water integrity for the Delaware and Susquehanna River Systems, the defense of the vast woodlands that encompass the Catskill Forest Preserve and the New York City Watershed as well as farmland protection. We promote “smart” development that balances the economic needs and concerns of the Catskill regions’ citizens and the protection of our abundant but exceedingly vulnerable natural resources.