1,000+ March to NY Capitol Telling Cuomo 'Don't Frack NY'
Today more than one thousand New Yorkers staged a massive march and rally in Albany to highlight the dangers of fracking. They marched from Corning Preserve Riverside Park to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the West Capitol Lawn.
“As a scientist and a mother, I am urging Gov. Cuomo and the DEC to choose to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of fracking,” said Sandra Steingraber, distinguished scholar in residence at Ithaca College and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking. “The DEC hasn’t conducted an independent study of the health impacts of fracking, and the science shows that fracking can be devastating to people’s health.”
Accidents and spills at drilling and fracking sites contaminate land, risking farmland and streams.i Contamination of underground sources of drinking water with methane and other hydrocarbon gases is a common problem.ii Local air pollution also accompanies drilling and fracking, and there are numerous reports of mysterious health problems linked to such pollution.iii Intense truck traffic destroys roads and increases the likelihood of dangerous accidents and spills.iv
Street theatre at the DEC illustrated the inappropriate collusion between the gas industry and the DEC in writing the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, how independent scientists and experts have been excluded from the process and how having Brad Field as director of the Division of Mineral Resources derails the legitimacy of the DEC's review of fracking given that Field is on record as a climate denier. Given the state of the study and review, the public's faith has been broken and Gov. Cuomo would have no ground upon which to stand in saying that fracking can be done safely.
Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, said, “In this brutally hot summer, it was a real slap in the face to learn that Gov. Cuomo had turned over the environmental review of fracking to a global-warming denier. And amidst the drought plaguing America, it’s almost unbelievable that New York State would put its unparalleled water resources at risk.”
In total, more than 3,000 people signed a new Pledge to Resist Fracking in New York leading up to the event following signals that Gov. Cuomo is considering releasing final fracking regulations and lifting New York’s moratorium. The pledge lays out that stopping fracking is necessary to prevent the destruction and poisoning of New York’s water, air and food systems on which life, health and economic prosperity all depend—including that of future generations. The 1,000+ participants at the demonstration today delivered the pledge to the governor’s office.
Gerri Wiley, a resident of Owego, said, “An unparalleled grassroots movement in New York is unified in opposition to fracking. The Pledge to Resist Fracking in New York is a stark warning to Governor Cuomo that the amount and level of opposition to fracking will only grow if he moves forward.”
"Over the last few months, opposition to fracking in New York state has continued to grow, with over a thousand businesses, hundreds of artists and local opposition in the Southern Tier,” said Dave Publow from United for Action in New York City. “Given how dangerous fracking is to our water, many of these opponents have already committed to civil disobedience to ensure that fracking doesn't go forward."
“The gas industry’s own science tells us that six percent of wells will leak immediately upon drilling and 50 percent will leak over a 30-year period. There is no known way to fix this problem and the gas industry knows it,” said Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox. “This means the contamination of New York’s water is certain. Surely Governor Cuomo must listen to the science and roundly reject this industrial proposal. We can develop more jobs and energy by announcing that New York aims to lead the world in renewable energy development.”
State Sen. Tony Avella, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and author of a Senate bill banning hydrofracking (S.4220), stated, "With reports indicating that a decision on allowing hydrofracking in New York State is expected very soon, it is more important than ever to rise up and make our voices heard—hydrofracking is an extremely dangerous drilling practice and cannot be allowed in this State. Residents in other states that have allowed hydrofracking have paid too high a price, with contaminated water, increased seismic activity, crumbling infrastructure and lower property values. New York must learn from the disastrous effects of what hydrofracking has done in neighboring states like Pennsylvania and take the lead in banning this dangerous practice. The battle over hydrofracking has reached a climax and with the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers on the line, it is a battle that we cannot afford to lose.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
[i] Olson, Laura. “Chesapeake says Bradford County fluid and gas leak is under control.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 22, 2011; Aaron, G. Jeffrey. “Pa. fracking blowout spews fluid onto state forest lands.” The Ithaca Journal. January 25, 2011; Warco, Kathie O. “Fracking truck runs off road; contents spill.” Observer-Reporter (Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania). October 21, 2010; York, Kate and Brad Bauer. “Fracking wastewater leaked onto Ohio roads.” The Marietta Times (Ohio). December 24, 2011; “Waste from Marcellus shale drilling in Cross Creek Park kills fish.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 5, 2009; Whong, Jason. “Police probe fracking fluid spill in Bradford County.” Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York). January 11, 2012; Maykuth, Andrew. “Pa. suspends gas drilling at Marcellus rupture site.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 7, 2010; Schneyer, Joshua and Selam Gebrekidan. “Denbury plugs North Dakota oil well leak.” Reuters. September 3, 2010; Winter, Deena. “Welcome to boomtown: oil production raises health concerns.” Great Plains Examiner (Bismarck, North Dakota). January 10, 2012.
[ii] “Tests: Pa. gas drilling town’s water still fouled.” Associated Press. October 15, 2011; Lustgarten, Abrahm. “So, is Dimock’s water really safe to drink?” ProPublica. March 20, 2012; Osborn, Stephen G. et al. “Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 108, No. 20. May 17, 2011 at 8172 to 8173; Urbina, Ian. “A tainted water well, and concern there may be more.” The New York Times. August 3, 2011; United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory. “Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming.” Draft. (EPA 600/R-00/000.) December 2011 at xi and xiii; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. [Press Release]. “DEP reaches agreement with Cabot to prevent gas migration, restore water supplies in Dimock Township.” November 4, 2009.
[iii] McKenzie, Lisa M. et al. “Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 424. May 2012 at 79 to 87.; Bamberger, Michelle and Robert E. Oswald. “Impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health.” New Solutions, Scientific Solutions, vol. 22, iss. 1. January 2012 at 51 to 77; Lustgarten, Abrahm and Nicholas Kusnetz. “Science lags as health problems emerge near gas fields.” ProPublica. September 16, 2011; Wolf Eagle Environmental. “Town of DISH, Texas Ambient Air Monitoring Analysis: Final Report.” September 15, 2009 at 6; Steingraber, Sandra. Ithaca College. Testimony on Health Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Techniques. Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Health. New York State Assembly. May 26, 2011 at 11, 12, 18 and 19; Colborn, Theo et al. “Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective." International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 17, Iss. 5. September 2011 at 1039 to 1056.
[iv] Reppert, Julie. “Collision spills fracking fluid on state route.” Williamsport Sun-Gazette (Pennsylvania). December 27, 2011; Efstathiou, Jim. “Taxpayers pay as fracking trucks overwhelm rural cow paths.” Bloomberg News. May 15, 2012.
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The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.
On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.
France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.
The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.
"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."
Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.
By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.
The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.
"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.
While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.
"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.
Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.
Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.
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By Elizabeth Claire Alberts
There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.
Polyproylene fibers found in one of the sampled sharks. Kristian Parton
Spiny dogfish. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons<p>"There appear to be two routes for these particles to end up in the sharks," Parton said. "The first through their food source [such as] crustaceans. Their prey may already contain these fibers, and consequently it's passed to the shark through bioaccumulation up the food chain. The second pathway is direct ingestion from the sediment. As these sharks feed, they'll often suck up sediment into their mouths, some of this is expelled straight away, although some is swallowed, therefore fibers and particles that may have sunk down into the seabed may be directly ingested from the surrounding sediment as these sharks feed."</p><p>Some sharks only contained a few plastic particles, but others contained dozens. The larger the shark, the more plastic was in it, the findings suggested. The highest number of microplastics was found in an individual bull huss, which had 154 polypropylene fibers inside its stomach and intestines.</p><p>"It's perhaps likely this individual shark had swallowed a larger piece of fishing rope/netting and this has broken down during digestive processes within the shark, and also broken down into smaller pieces during our analysis," Parton said.</p>
Lesser-spotted dogfish caught as bycatch. Kristian Parton<p>While this study only examined the stomach and digestive tracts of demersal sharks, Parton says it's possible that plastic would be present in other parts of the sharks' bodies, such as the liver and muscle tissue. However, more research would be needed to prove this.</p><p>At the moment, there is also limited understanding of how microplastic ingestion would impact a shark's health, although microplastics are known to negatively influence feeding behavior, development, reproduction and life span of zooplankton and crustaceans.</p><p>"If we can show that these fibers contain inorganic pollutants attached to them, then that could have real consequences for these shark species at a cellular level, impacting various internal body systems," Parton said.</p>
Parton in the lab. Kristian Parton<p>This new study demonstrates how pervasive and destructive plastic pollution can be in the marine environment, according to Will McCallum, head of oceans for Greenpeace U.K.</p><p>"Our addiction to plastics combined with the lack of mechanisms to protect our oceans is suffocating marine life," McCallum said in a statement. "Sharks sit on top of the marine food web and play a vital role in ocean ecosystems. Yet, they are completely exposed to pollutants and other human impactful activities. We need to stop producing so much plastic and create a network of ocean sanctuaries to give wildlife space to recover. The ocean is not our dump, marine life deserves better than plastic."</p>
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By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun
After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.
<div id="bb0a7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e5aefc0fff61ab1aea2f4b03c5399864"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1291765757013983238" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">The #oilspill is devastating but I want to honour the community mobilisation at the Mahebourg waterfront today (to… https://t.co/UWFkZFdjdi</div> — Fabiola Monty (@Fabiola Monty)<a href="https://twitter.com/LFabiolaMonty/statuses/1291765757013983238">1596815930.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"Booms are made of nylon mesh filled with #sugarcane straws all hand-stitched by Mauritian volunteers, empty plastic bottles used as buoys," described Mauritian journalist Zeenat Hansrod in a tweet. </p>
How to Tackle Oil Spills<p>The method for tackling oil spills depends on several factors, including the type and amount of oil in question, location and weather conditions.</p><p>"Once the oil comes to shore, the more intensive the cleaning technique. You can risk causing further damage," said Nicky Cariglia, an independent consultant at Marittima, who specializes in marine pollution. </p><p>"If you wanted to remove all traces of oil, the techniques available become increasingly aggressive the less oil that remains. In mangroves, you would have the added risk of causing damage by trampling," Cariglia told DW. Highly sensitive mangrove ecosystems line the Mauritius east coast that is threatened by the current spill.</p><p>Because oil normally has a lower density than water, it floats on the surface of the ocean. This means that for clean-up action to be most effective, it should happen very quickly after a spill, before the oil disperses. </p>
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