New York governor Andrew Cuomo remained silent about the issue of fracking in this year's State of the State address given Wednesday. However, over 1,000 anti-fracking protesters filled that silence for him, gathering outside the invite-only speech to show their resistance to the increasing threat of fracking in the state.
‘Don’t frack with our future’ and ‘We love frack-free NY’ read signs held by the protesters as they gathered in the Empire State Plaza in Albany behind metal police barricades 300 yards from the doors of Cuomo's speech.
“Air contamination, high levels of radiation, earthquakes,” are some of the threats brought along with the controversial practice of oil and gas fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a man in the crowd told RT reporter Marina Portnaya. “The bottom line is [an] incredibly dirty form of extreme energy extraction that cannot have any place in New York state.”
A moratorium on fracking in New York has been in place since 2008 but in December Cuomo said he would make a decision on whether or not to ban the practice permanently by Election Day next year.
A large anti-fracking movement in New York has built over the last several years with considerable momentum.
Over one hundred groups co-sponsored Wednesday's protests including the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action Of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Food & Water Watch and Frack Action.
“Fracking does not and cannot meet the standards Gov. Cuomo has promised New Yorkers: that all watersheds are sacrosanct and that public health must be protected,” said John Armstrong, a spokesperson for Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking. “As science shows that fracking is inherently dangerous, contaminates water and makes people sick, thousands of New Yorkers are rallying to call on Gov. Cuomo to ban fracking.”
“On a day when all eyes in the state are on Albany, we want to remind Governor Cuomo that New Yorkers won’t back off until he protects us by banning fracking,” said Alex Beauchamp, regional director of Food & Water Watch. “The huge crowd here today speaks for a clear majority of New Yorkers that are expecting the governor to stand up for their health and safety, once and for all.”
“Fracking would jeopardize the health of millions of New Yorkers,” said Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of NY. “The best studies and data available compel a ban on fracking to keep our water pure, keep our air clean and to protect the health of our children and families.”