New Yorkers Celebrate One-Year Anniversary of Fracking Ban
Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the announcement by Gov. Cuomo, the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation that New York would ban high-volume fracking given its serious public health and environmental risks.
New Yorkers and the many organizations that worked to ban fracking are reflecting on the ban that occurred one year ago and the anti-fracking movement overall, noting its importance nationally and internationally.
“I will always remember this as the day that Governor Cuomo became a climate leader and put New York at the forefront of the climate movement," actor Mark Ruffalo, advisory board member of the New Yorkers Against Fracking, said. "He listened to the science and the experts in protecting New Yorkers public health, environment and climate. He said no to dirty, dangerous fossil fuel extraction and put New York on a path to a healthy, renewable energy future. We need more governors and leaders to show that type of leadership. As the world turned its attention to the climate conference in Paris last week, the need is crystal clear to leave fossil fuels in the ground and boldly build the 100 percent renewable energy future.”
Natalie Merchant, musician and advisory board member of New Yorkers Against Fracking, agrees. “As a life-long New Yorker, I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo and the good people of New York State who worked to ban fracking," she said. "New York is a precedent setting state and what happens here is felt across the country and around the world. On this one year anniversary of the fracking ban, we should all be proud to be New Yorkers.”
Since the ban, more and more science has shown that it was the right decision. Following the UN climate conference in Paris, leaders and groups note the significance of Gov. Cuomo and New York’s climate leadership in keeping fossil fuels in the ground and scaling up renewable energy. Groups also highlight that Maryland followed New York’s lead as well as various communities and other countries including Ireland, where today a fracking ban bill is being introduced in the Irish Parliament.
“People across Ireland are looking to New York’s ban on fracking and Governor Cuomo’s leadership as we work to follow their lead by banning fracking," Dr. Aedin McLoughlin, director of Good Energies Alliance of Ireland, said. "We hold New York State very dear to our hearts, and as we face the threat of fracking we are so thankful for New York’s ban. Governor Cuomo and New York’s anti-fracking movement have inspired a fracking ban bill that is being introduced today in the Irish Parliament.”
Maryland followed New York’s lead in early 2015 by passing a two and a half year moratorium on fracking. More and more, health experts and citizens are calling on the legislature and the governor to turn the moratorium into a ban. A renewed effort and rapidly growing movement in Pennsylvania, including the coalition Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, is calling on Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf to stop fracking in light of New York’s findings, evidence of serious health impacts, hundreds of cases of water contamination and a range of other problems.
The campaign to ban fracking in California has seen immense growth as Gov. Jerry Brown has faced mounting pressure to follow Gov. Cuomo’s lead. Communities in a number of states have taken actions to ban fracking. Internationally, Ireland has embraced a moratorium on fracking and is pursuing a health review inspired by New York’s. In a watershed moment, Lancashire, England denied fracking.
“New York State’s fracking ban has inspired and empowered local citizens’ groups and elected officials across the nation and around the world to ban fracking," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said. "Maryland and hundreds of communities have taken action to stop fracking, and momentum to stop fracking everywhere is quickly growing. In California, citizens are demanding a fracking ban and calling out Governor Jerry Brown for promoting himself as an environmental climate leader while increasing drilling and fracking in the middle of a drought and climate crisis. It’s time for Governor Brown and others to follow the leadership of Governor Cuomo and New York State and ban fracking now!”
The groups noted that the scientific evidence that has emerged in the past year further shows that the decision to ban fracking was right. In the first six months of 2015, more than 100 new peer-reviewed studies came out, overwhelmingly showing risks and adverse impacts.
This October, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility partnered with Concerned Health Professionals of New York to release the third edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, which demonstrates that the evidence is increasingly revealing more and worse risks and harms from fracking.
In a letter to President Obama and the Surgeon General, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York pointed to New York State’s leadership and urged them to acknowledge the health impacts, and urged other state’s governors to stop fracking.
“Governor Cuomo and his Administration rightly followed the science and protected public health by banning fracking," Larysa Dyrszka, MD, of Concerned Health Professionals of NY, said. "A year later, well over a hundred more studies continue to reveal impacts includinginfant health issues and increased hospitalization rates. The ban on fracking is an example of excellent public policy based on science, which more governors and governments should follow.”
In the past year, the anti-fracking movement has focused on a number of issues, including: advancing renewable energy through local solar programs, engaging in the REV proceedings, and advocating for state policies. Many have worked to stop a range of gas infrastructure projects including the Port Ambrose LNG facility which Gov. Cuomo vetoed, pipelines, compressor stations and gas storage, all of which pose various threats to public health and safety. Many have worked tirelessly to help residents affected by fracking in Pennsylvania, stop fracking and address climate change nationally, while also aiding international efforts. Notably, New York helped to inspire and build the national anti-fracking movement, which is getting bigger and stronger. The Americans Against Fracking coalition has delivered more than 600,000 comments calling for a ban of fracking on public lands.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- California Winery Cuts Carbon Emissions With Lighter Bottles ... ›
- Wealthy One Percent Are Producing More Carbon Emissions Than ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
- 14 States On Track to Meet Paris Targets - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Names John Kerry as First-Ever Climate Envoy - EcoWatch ›
By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
Time for Action<p>I have spoken to many scientists, particularly federal scientists, who are eager to turn the page so they can hurry back to the work they had been doing before this administration, but I urge caution in assuming that things can be "normal" again.</p><p>Before Trump, I naively thought the scientific integrity policies established during the <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/12/19/scientific-integrity-policies-update" target="_blank">Obama administration</a> would be sufficient. I never imagined that any administration could so willfully ignore and attack expert advice and evidence that is intended to protect us and our public lands.</p><p>I have personally witnessed how hard our federal scientists work. They put in long hours with minimal pay (far less that what they could get if they worked in private industry) to pursue one simple goal: to make things better for the nation.</p><p>We need stronger scientific integrity policies to protect these people and their work. But more than that, we need stronger scientific integrity laws because they also benefit society.</p>
By Andrea Germanos
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
<div id="da98c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="478a197b7c59c92787c92bec92f1ac39"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1331662923710693376" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Bristol Bay forever, Pebble mine never. #NoPebbleMine #SaveBristolBay https://t.co/CBQ9zuy8A5</div> — Save Bristol Bay (@Save Bristol Bay)<a href="https://twitter.com/SaveBristolBay/statuses/1331662923710693376">1606328156.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Pebble Mine Threatens One of the Last Great Salmon Rivers ... ›
- The Pebble Mine Is Too Toxic Even for the Trump Administration ... ›
- Trump Admin Reverses Obama-Era Restrictions on Pebble Mine ... ›
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.