Hundreds of anti-fracking activists a packed legislative hearing in Albany, NY on Monday to demand that Governor Cuomo protect the state's air and water supply and not lift the ban on the controversial drilling practice known as fracking.
“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.”
Anti-fracking group, Frack Action, wrote on their Facebook page: "As [Department of Environmental Conservation] (DEC) Commissioner Martens testifies this morning in Albany, the hearing room is packed with a long line out the door of New Yorkers opposed to fracking. We're in Albany today to say NOT ONE WELL!"
After the hearing, protestors—including actor Mark Ruffalo and Gasland director Josh Fox— gathered on the Capitol steps to ask the Cuomo Administration to open the secret health review being conducted by the Department of Health for public comment and participation.
Frack Action reports, "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."
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Earlier in the day, the Siena Research Institute released new poll data showing New York voters are split (40-40 percent) on the issue of fracking, with opponents significantly more passionate in their position than supporters. Associated Press reports, "in the Southern Tier region where drilling would most likely start, the poll showed 48 percent opposed."
In a letter to the editor of the Times Union, Albany resident Judith Brinks writes:
I've attended Albany City Council and Albany County Legislature meetings and listened to gas company representatives say how safe fracking is and how there is nothing harmful in the chemicals they are using. I've experienced the opposite.
Very good friends lived just below the New York state line in Pennsylvania, and I watched the land and the health of my friends deteriorate as the fracking machinery invaded the territory until my friends felt they had to leave. My friends were lucky to sell their homestead and move to Ithaca where they are counting on New York to be smarter and more responsive to its citizens than Pennsylvania. I certainly hope their trust is well-placed.