Quantcast
Energy

New Yorkers Deliver Unprecedented 200K+ Comments on Cuomo's Fracking Rules

Artists Against Fracking

On the final day of the 30-day public comment period on the Cuomo administration’s proposed fracking rules, a coalition of New Yorkers and organizations opposed to fracking—including Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon of Artists against Fracking—delivered an unprecedented 200,000-plus public comments to the state’s DEC.

On the final day of the 30-day public comment period on the Cuomo administration’s proposed fracking rules, a coalition of New Yorkers and organizations opposed to fracking—including Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon of Artists against Fracking—delivered an unprecedented 200,000-plus public comments to the state’s DEC. The more than 200,000 comments on the Cuomo administration’s draft regulations are more than three times higher than the record-setting 66,000-plus comments received during the last comment period, which was four times longer—120 days between September 2011 and January 2012.

“I am here in Albany today on behalf of Artists Against Fracking because there is no way to make fracking safe for our water, land, air or climate,” said Yoko Ono. “This week Governor Cuomo announced truly important efforts for clean energy and reducing greenhouse gases. We truly applaud these efforts of his—they are outstanding. With clean energy development, and by saving energy as the Governor has outlined, there is no reason to risk the dirty energy of fracking. We praise the Governor for his climate initiatives and call on him to make the moratorium on fracking permanent. We repeat our request for our artists and expert engineers to meet with the Governor to show him that fracking cannot be made safe for New York or the planet. Thank you.”

The overwhelming response by New Yorkers represents the significant concerns residents of the state have about the dangerous natural gas extraction process. Among the millions of New Yorkers opposed to fracking, those submitting comments have done so under protest because evidence suggests that no amount or type of regulations can prevent the dangers the process poses, and they disagree with the Cuomo administration’s decision to release draft fracking regulations before its own health review has been completed and made public. New Yorkers have been consistently and vocally expressing their opposition to fracking, with thousands protesting outside of the Governor’s State of the State address on Wednesday and hundreds demonstrating outside of his birthday fundraiser in New York City on Monday. Dozens of New Yorkers, including health professionals, also testified about the economic, environmental and health concerns fracking would bring to New York at a New York State Assembly hearing on the regulations Thursday.

“Our movement of New Yorkers from across this state, opposed to the dangerous process of fracking, only continues to grow,” said Alex Beauchamp, regional director of the consumer group Food & Water Watch. “The more we learn about fracking, the deeper and stronger our opposition becomes with greater numbers of our neighbors joining this movement. We expect Governor Cuomo to protect our state from the economic, environmental and health disasters of fracking and we will hold him responsible if he ushers in an era of catastrophes by allowing it here.”

Catskill Citizen volunteers with 24,000 letters boxed up for delivery to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Photo by Dana Duke

Governor Cuomo is weighing whether or not to allow fracking, but did not address it in his State of the State address, with Cuomo’s director of state operations attributing its absence to the ongoing health review. Rather than undertake a comprehensive health impact assessment of fracking, the Cuomo administration announced in September it would review its own study of the health impact of fracking. It hired outside experts to evaluate its review but has shut the public and transparency out of the process, even placing a gag-order on the experts paid with taxpayer money. It released its latest fracking regulations before the evaluation’s completion, guaranteeing the public would not see the review’s results before commenting on the regulations.

“The Cuomo administration has failed to conduct a true health assessment, failed to account for the health impacts in its regulations, and failed to include the public whose health would be impacted by fracking,” said biologist Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of NY. “It’s perfectly reasonable for New Yorkers to ask for the gold standard and transparency in any study on how allowing fracking in our state will damage public health. Yet the Cuomo administration has rejected our calls for transparency and due diligence and shut us out, making this not only a public health issue but also a human rights issue. New Yorkers today are resoundingly saying no to fracking, no to Governor Cuomo’s regulations, and no to the secrecy of this process that is serving no one but the gas industry.”

Since fracking began in states outside of New York, there have been numerous reports of water contamination with studies linking fracking-related activities to contaminated groundwater, air pollution, illness, death and reproductive problems in cows, horses and wildlife, and human health problems. Concerns about the exaggerated economic benefits touted by the gas industry and the faulty economic analysis of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have also been raised by New Yorkers and economists.

The gas industry has poured millions of dollars into New York to influence state government through campaign contributions to elected officials and lobbying. In July, a Freedom of Information Act request by Environmental Working Group revealed gas industry lobbyists were given preferential access to draft regulations by DEC, allowing them to lobby for changes before the regulations were released to the public. A few weeks ago, Common Cause released an analysis of campaign contributions of pro-fracking interests during the 2012 election cycle. It showed pro-fracking interest contributed nearly $400,000 to candidates for state legislature and county executive in New York’s Southern Tier. In some races, contributions from pro-fracking interests were more than 20 percent of a candidate’s total fundraising.

“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, over 75,000 CREDO members, including over 20,000 New York state voters, are calling on Gov. Cuomo to abandon his dangerous plans to frack New York, and accelerate climate change,” said Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager for CREDO. “It’s time for Governor Cuomo to stand up and be a leader to protect New Yorkers and bring a better future—not help gas companies reap huge profits with their plan to bring us dozens more Sandys.”

“Gathering comments decrying the proposed regulations has been a terrific collaborative effort and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy is proud to deliver more than 23,000 comments collected on behalf of our members,” said Jill Wiener of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

A coalition of civic, environmental and progressive organizations—as well as businesses and faith organizations—from around the state have participated in grassroots efforts to encourage New Yorkers to express their concerns about the Cuomo administration’s fracking regulations by submitting comments. Almost 200 coalition organizations participated in comment-generating actions such as holiday writing parties, phone banks and community meetings.

“New Yorkers don’t want fracking in our state and don’t believe Governor Cuomo’s regulations will protect us from its dangers,” said Beauchamp. “The opposition displayed by the overwhelming and unprecedented number of comments we are submitting displays how deeply impassioned opposition is to sacrificing our state to the gas industry.”

 Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

-------

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
The turkey ranch in Sonora is where Diestel keeps its pasture-raised birds. Jeanne Cooper

Popular Diestel Turkey Sold at Whole Foods Tests Positive for FDA-Prohibited Drugs

Diestel Turkey, sold by Whole Foods and other retailers at premium prices, says on its website that its "animals are never given hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants."

But Diestel Turkey samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest otherwise, leading consumers to wonder: Can these companies be trusted?

Keep reading... Show less
Animals

Slaughter of 90,000 Wild Horses Could Proceed Despite 80% Objection From American Public

The American Wild Horse Campaign on Thursday harshly criticized Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's appointment of Brian Steed, the former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as dangerous and out of step with the wishes of the vast majority of Americans.

"Rep. Stewart is leading the charge to slaughter America's wild horses and burros over the opposition of 80 percent of Americans," said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. "Putting his deputy at the helm of the agency charged with protecting these national icons is like putting the wolf in charge of the chicken coop."

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy

Bright Idea: This Lamp Harvests Its Own Energy From Plants

Now that's green energy. Dutch product designer Ermi van Oers and her team are working on the first atmospheric lamp powered by living plants.

The Living Light does not require an electric socket. It can harvest its own energy through the photosynthetic process of the encased plant, which means the potential of this off-grid light source could be "huge," as Van Oers told Dezeen.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate

Landmark Youth Climate Lawsuit Heads to Federal Appeals Court

There has been a significant development in the constitutional climate change lawsuit so far successfully prosecuted by 21 youth plaintiffs: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to hear oral argument over whether the Trump administration can evade trial currently set for Feb. 5, 2018. Oral arguments will be heard before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Dec. 11 and can be watched on a live stream beginning at 10 a.m. PST.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Martin Schulz / Flickr

Pope Francis: These 4 'Perverse Attitudes' Could Push Earth to Its Brink

Pope Francis issued a strong message to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet—"denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions."

Francis, who has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment, renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza sits near the Statoil contracted oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen. Greenpeacce

Groups Sue Norway Over Failure to Protect Environment for Future Generations

By David Leestma

Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth environmental group opened a lawsuit this week over Norway's failure to abide by its constitutional obligation to safeguard the environment for future generations.

The lawsuit, which focuses on local environmental damage and the contribution that oil extraction will make to climate change, challenges 10 licenses issued by the Norwegian government for exploration in the Barents Sea. Given to Statoil, Chevron and other oil companies, the licenses violate Norway's constitution and the Paris agreement, according to the plaintiffs. Government lawyers claim the case is a publicity stunt that risks valuable jobs.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Lia Heifetz of Barnacle Foods hauls kelp for salsa. Bethany Sonsini Goodrich

A Plea for Kelp: These Farmers and Chefs Want to Make Seaweed the Next Superfood

By Sarah Bedolfe

Summer in southeast Alaska is kelp season for the cofounders of Barnacle Foods, Lia Heifetz and Matt Kern. Each week, the pair watches the tides and weather, waiting for the right moment to cruise out to the abundant kelp beds offshore. They lean over the side of the boat and pull up the fronds and stalks, one piece at a time. As soon as they get back to shore, they start processing the day's harvest into a local delicacy: kelp salsa.

Salsa and Alaskan algae might seem like odd bedfellows, but for Barnacle Foods, it's a calculated decision. The kelp's savory notes make the salsa's flavor "a little more explosive," according to Kern. And the pairing is also a practical one. "Salsa is such a familiar food item," Heifetz said. It's "a gateway to getting more people to eat seaweed."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Lorie Shaull / Flickr

Massive Pipeline Leak Shows Why Nebraska Should Reject Keystone XL

About 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of oil leaked Thursday from TransCanada's Keystone oil pipeline near Amherst, South Dakota, drawing fierce outcry from pipeline opponents.

The leak, the largest spill to date in South Dakota, comes just days before Nebraska regulators decide on whether its controversial sister project—the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline—will go forward.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!