Food & Water Watch is working to ban fracking everywhere. We’re building towards it community by community, state by state, law by law, but the end goal is clear: no more fracking anywhere. People often say that this aim is politically infeasible. But we believe we must fight for what we want, and the New York fracking ban shows that it is possible to get it. When people come together and call for what’s right, we can win against great odds, and Governor Cuomo’s bold decision paves the way for activists in other states to win their own bans.
But this victory in New York also shows us what’s necessary in order to win: a movement of committed people coming together, perseverance in the face of criticism and doubt, and a great deal of hard work. In the years leading up to the ban, Food & Water Watch helped form the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition, and together with these local and national organizations we engaged thousands of New Yorkers to join the campaign to ban fracking in New York; New Yorkers submitted countless comments, made tens of thousands of phone calls and turned out to dozens of events.
“You really did a great job of making your voice heard, and that’s what democracy’s all about.”
– Governor Andrew Cuomo to New York activists, after the fracking ban announcement
All of that took an incredible amount of hard work and coordination, not to mention dedication of activists from across the state who showed up to rallies and protests. They got up at 4:00 am to board buses to rallies in Albany. They showed up on short notice outside Governor Cuomo’s events. They sometimes braved bitter cold or blazing heat to tell Governor Cuomo, over and over, that they wanted a ban on fracking.
And in the end, it worked. The campaign delayed the decision long enough for numerous scientific studies to show that fracking was not safe. Governor Cuomo himself said after the announcement that it wouldn’t have happened without so many activists calling on him to make the right decision. This is what true democracy looks like. And this is how we’ll win more bans on fracking – in Maryland, in California, and every state in between.