Southern Tier residents held a rally and press conference today raising grave concerns about the health impacts of fracking. Recent scientific studies cause major alarm about health impacts from the air pollution, water contamination and community impacts of fracking. Speakers included Kathy Nolan, MD, residents from across the Southern Tier and Pennsylvania residents familiar with the impacts of fracking.
Residents also pointed to the Feb. 4 Siena College poll, which showed that the gas industry’s claims of support for fracking in the Southern Tier are false. The Siena poll found a narrow majority of Southern Tier residents opposed to fracking. The resounding message on Wednesday was "Governor Cuomo, don’t frack our health!"
"With the lives and health of New Yorkers at stake, we call on Governor Cuomo to keep fracking's poisons out of our air, water and soil by requiring that all existing scientific and health data be studied and presented to the public within the framework of a comprehensive, rigorous, open and participatory Health Impact Assessment," said Dr. Kathy Nolan, with Catskill Mountainkeeper.
Gerri Wiley, registered nurse and Tioga County resident said, "Governor Cuomo, you are a strong leader who loves New York as we do. As Southern Tier residents, we are here today to support your vision of a thriving New York and to call on you to protect our communities by banning fracking."
They called on Governor Cuomo to open the secret health review, which is 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 governor's administration instead hired three outside experts to spend a woefully inadequate 25 hours reviewing the state's own internal health review.
Meanwhile, other parts of the country are pursuing studies related to the health impacts of fracking. For Governor Cuomo to approve fracking at this time, he would be going leaps and bounds over the science. In the last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced intent to study radiation associated with fracking. The University of Pennsylvania announced a significant independent health study in collaboration with other leading universities. And Governor O’Malley of Maryland recently announced $1.5 million to study the impacts of fracking. The New York State health review is an internal review of an internal review, far short of the health impact study that New York’s medical and scientific community has overwhelmingly called for.
Craig Stevens, resident of Silver Lake Township in Pennsylvania who has first-hand experience with health impacts of fracking, said, “Here in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court found parts of Act 13—which places a gag order on doctors—unconstitutional, but our own emergency response services know about all of the dangers and problems with fracking.”
Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy said, "Until a complete health impact assessment on fracking is undertaken, communities where people live and work should not be testing grounds for industrial experiments.”
The organization noted last week’s very successful launch of Save the Southern Tier, a new network of Southern Tier anti-fracking organizations working to get the truth out about fracking. Rapp said, “Vestal Residents for Safe Energy stands with Save the Southern Tier in imploring the Governor to do the right thing to safeguard public health and the environment from irreparable harm.”
In addition, Vestal Residents for Safe Energy said:
It is a matter of common sense that the industrial activity of fracking poses a danger to neighborhoods and brings with it risks to health, safety, property values and the comfort of home.
A Siena Poll released yesterday showed that the gas industry’s and Senator Libous’ assertion that the Southern Tier wants fracking couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, people in the Southern Tier are almost evenly divided on the question, and 51 percent—42 percent of Southern Tier residents would support a moratorium on fracking if the governor gives fracking a green light. According to the poll, fracking opponents will be much more upset if it moves forward than fracking supporters will be if it does not. The Southern Tier has the highest ratio of anti-fracking sentiment in the state, with the largest percentage in the state of those who feel passionately that fracking should not proceed.
Vestal Residents for Safe Energy stands with Save the Southern Tier and New Yorkers Against Fracking to implore the Governor to do the right thing to safeguard public health and the environment from irreparable harm. Any project announced by the Governor to frack even one well in the Southern Tier will be met with unprecedented resistance from the anti-fracking movement. We will make history in New York by protecting our residents and saying NO to the industry. NOT ONE WELL!
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a sweeping climate bill on Thursday that would have put the commonwealth on a path to eliminating carbon emissions by 2050.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ajit Niranjan
World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must "urgently step up action," according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Adaptation Has a Long Way to Go<p>The Adaptation Gap Report, now in its 5th year, finds "huge gaps" between what world leaders agreed to do under the 2015 <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">Paris Agreement</a> and what they need to do to keep their citizens safe from climate change.</p><p>A review by the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative of almost 1,700 examples of climate adaptation found that a third were in the early stages of implementation — and only 3% had reached the point of reducing risks.</p><p>Disasters like storms and droughts have grown stronger than they should be because people have warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests. The world has heated by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and is on track to warm by about 3°C by the end of the century.</p><p>If world leaders <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-performance-index-how-far-have-we-come/a-55846406" target="_blank">deliver on recent pledges</a> to bring emissions to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/joe-bidens-climate-pledges-are-they-realistic/a-56173821" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">net-zero</a> by the middle of the century, they could almost limit warming to 2°C. The target of the Paris Agreement, however, is to reach a target well below that — ideally 1.5°C. </p><p>There are two ways, scientists say, to lessen the pain that warming will bring: mitigating climate change by cutting carbon pollution and adapting to the hotter, less stable world it brings.</p>
The Cost of Climate Adaptation<p>About three-quarters of the world's countries have national plans to adapt to climate change, according to the report, but most lack the regulations, incentives and funding to make them work.</p><p>More than a decade ago, rich countries most responsible for climate change pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poorer countries. UNEP says it is "impossible to answer" whether that goal has been met, while an OECD study published in November found that between 2013 and 2018, the target sum had not once been achieved. Even in 2018, which recorded the highest level of contributions, rich countries were still $20 billion short.</p><p>The yearly adaptation costs for developing countries alone are estimated at $70 billion. This figure is expected to at least double by the end of the decade as temperatures rise, and will hit $280-500 billion by 2050, according to the report.</p><p>But failing to adapt is even more expensive.</p><p>When powerful storms like cyclones Fani and Bulbul struck South Asia, early-warning systems allowed governments to move millions of people out of danger at short notice. Storms of similar strength that have hit East Africa, like <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-after-cyclone-idai-building-climate-friendly-practices/a-54251885" target="_blank">cyclones Idai</a> and Kenneth, have proved more deadly because fewer people were evacuated before disaster struck.</p><p>The Global Commission on Adaptation estimated in 2019 that a $1.8 trillion investment in early warning systems, buildings, agriculture, mangroves and water resources could reap $7.1 trillion in benefits from economic activity and avoided costs when disasters strike.</p>
Exploring Nature-Based Solutions<p>The report also highlights how restoring nature can protect people from climate change while benefiting local communities and ecology.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-fires-risk-climate-change-bushfires-australia-california-extreme-weather-firefighters/a-54817927" target="_blank">Wildfires</a>, for instance, could be made less punishing by restoring grasslands and regularly burning the land in controlled settings. Indigenous communities from Australia to Canada have done this for millennia in a way that encourages plant growth while reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. Reforestation, meanwhile, can stop soil erosion and flooding during heavy rainfall while trapping carbon and protecting wildlife.</p><p>In countries like Brazil and Malaysia, governments could better protect coastal homes from floods and storms by restoring <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/mudflats-mangroves-and-marshes-the-great-coastal-protectors/a-50628747" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mangroves</a> — tangled trees that grow in tropical swamps. As well as anchoring sediments and absorbing the crash of waves, mangroves can store carbon, help fish populations grow and boost local economies through tourism. </p><p>While nature-based solutions are often cheaper than building hard infrastructure, their funding makes up a "tiny fraction" of adaptation finance, the report authors wrote. An analysis of four global climate funds that spent $94 billion on adaptation projects found that just $12 billion went to nature-based solutions and little of this was spent implementing projects on the ground.</p><p>But little is known about their long-term effectiveness. At higher temperatures, the effects of climate change may be so great that they overwhelm natural defenses like mangroves.</p><p>By 2050, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/rising-sea-levels-should-we-let-the-ocean-in-a-50704953/a-50704953" target="_blank">coastal floods</a> that used to hit once a century will strike many cities every year, according to a 2019 report on oceans by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the gold standard on climate science. This could force dense cities on low-lying coasts to build higher sea walls, like in Indonesia and South Korea, or evacuate entire communities from sinking islands, like in Fiji.</p><p>It's not a case of replacing infrastructure, said Matthias Garschagen, a geographer at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany and IPCC author, who was not involved in the UNEP report. "The case for nature-based solutions is often misinterpreted as a battle... but they're part of a toolkit that we've ignored for too long."</p>
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