Hundreds Rally Telling Gov. Cuomo: 'Not One Fracking Well'
Hundreds of New Yorkers packed the legislative budget hearing on the environment as Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Martens testified. The opponents of fracking packed the hearing room with a sea of blue and with a long line out the door. After the hearing, opponents gathered in the Capitol’s Million Dollar Staircase to tell Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens not to go forward with fracking. The crowd was emboldened by a new statewide poll showing public opinion evenly divided with opponents much more determined than supporters.
“The Cuomo administration’s secrecy and changing explanation of its health review provide the public with little confidence that our health is being prioritized ahead of gas industry profits,” said Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “Communities where people live and work should not be proving grounds for industrial experiments. For the governor to move forward to allow even limited fracking without a true health study open to public participation would be a violation of his duty to protect New Yorkers.”
The religious, health and environmental organizations at the event demanded that the Cuomo Administration open the secret health review being conducted by the Department of Health for public comment and participation. Rather than undertake a comprehensive health impact assessment of fracking that would involve transparency and public participation, the Administration instead hired outside experts to review its own controlled internal health review that was written by the administration.
"Today there are thousands of families throughout the United States whose water has been contaminated one way or another from hydrofracking," said Mark Ruffalo, an advisory committee member of New Yorkers Against Fracking. "There is too much at stake; water and air quality, the health of our people and the specter of climate change make hydrofracking in New York State a complete non starter. I have great faith Governor Cuomo will act from his moral center and move away from this disastrous decision and move forward with leading the nation in pulling into NYS some of the $2 trillion being spent throughout the world on the burgeoning renewable energy economy."
Southern Tier groups–represented by Save the Southern Tier–said any decision to frack even one well in the Southern Tier will be met with unprecedented resistance from the unified anti-fracking movement at large. By releasing the SGEIS and saying it is safe, even for one well, it would open up the entire state for drilling, they argued.
“Residents of the Southern Tier do not want to be the lab rats in a fracking experiment within our state,” said Logan Adsit, a resident of Pharsalia in Chenango County, on behalf of the Save the Southern Tier network. “If fracking is unacceptable for New York City's watershed and other people’s water, then it should be the same for us. We don’t want to be poisoned and the gas industry’s bogus economic claims will never convince us to jeopardize our health.”
Earlier in the day, Siena released a poll showing public opinion evenly divided on fracking, with opponents significantly more determined and passionate about the issue than supporters.
“New Yorkers don't want the gas industry to poison them and ruin New York. We know that once the gas industry ruins our water, food and environment, we will be left with an enormous mess after the fracking industry is gone,” said Alex Beauchamp of Food & Water Watch. “We hope Governor Cuomo will listen to the loud opposition voices and protect us and the generations to come from such a true health and human rights disaster.”
Following the press conference and rally in the Million Dollar Staircase, Arun Gandhi and Mark Ruffalo lead advocates to The War Room, where Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, signed the pledge of resistance to hydrofracking in New York. Gandhi discussed transforming the anti-fracking movement into one of non-violent civil disobedience should Governor Cuomo permit fracking in the state after residents and experts have pursued every avenue to present the facts and the science within the state’s broken process, yet have been shut out. Gandhi’s pledge and water from across the state was then delivered to the governor’s office.
“We are calling on the Governor Andrew Cuomo to lead this state to become the renewable energy capitol of the nation,” said Arun Gandhi. “He has a decision before him that will either mark his place in history as a leader who pioneered a new path forward of clean, renewable energy or continued down the old path of destruction from dirty fossil fuel extraction.”
Groups represented at the press conference include New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of groups opposed to fracking; state legislators; Concerned Health Professionals of New York; Sierra Club; Riverkeeper; Environmental Advocates; New York State Council of Churches; and Save the Southern Tier.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
- Thom Yorke of Radiohead Releases Song With Greenpeace to Help ... ›
- Patti Smith, Thom Yorke, Flea and More Featured on Just Released ... ›
- Musicians and Activists Unite at 'Pathway to Paris' - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A national park in Thailand has come up with an innovative way to make sure guests clean up their own trash: mail it back to them.
- Supermarkets in Thailand and Vietnam Swap Plastic Packaging for ... ›
- Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It ... ›
- Thailand Begins the New Year With Plastic Bag Ban - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Worsens Thailand's Plastic Waste Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Marium, Thailand's Beloved Baby Dugong, Is the Latest Victim of ... ›
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
- 7 Republicans Joined Senate Democrats in Vote to Fight Climate ... ›
- Climate Change Acknowledged by Increasing Number of ... ›
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
- Trump Denies CDC Director's 2021 Timeline for Coronavirus Vaccine ›
- CDC Tells States to Prepare for a Vaccine Before November Election ›
- Fauci Warns Pre-Pandemic Normalcy Not Likely Until Late 2021 ... ›
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.