The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4905,
Claire Sandberg, Frack Action, (646) 641-6431,
Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper, 845-482-2351,


47 Groups Call on Cuomo for Statewide Fracking Ban

 Broad-Based Coalition Denounces DEC Fracking Plan, Demands Protection for all New Yorkers From Fracking


Following Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to allow the process of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") across 85 percent of New York's Marcellus Shale, a coalition of 47 consumer, faith, food, environmental and multi-issue advocacy organizations today called for a statewide ban on fracking. The coalition includes several national and state organizations including Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Credo Action, Center for Heath Environment and Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Citizen Action New York.

Last week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its recommendations on fracking, allowing the practice in most areas of the state outside of the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The DEC's plan, which informed Governor Cuomo's decision, leaves many New Yorkers without equal protection from the environmental and public health risks associated with fracking, and still exposes New York City and Syracuse residents to many impacts of shale gas drilling, including toxic air emissions.

"The DEC's recommendations on fracking will turn many areas of New York into sacrifice zones, allowing this toxic, polluting practice at the detriment of public health, the environment and rural economies," said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "We urge Governor Cuomo to protect New York and its residents over the special interests of the oil and gas industry by banning hydraulic fracturing in New York State."

Under the DEC's plan, thousands of new wells will be drilled across New York, using billions of gallons of fresh water, and industrializing rural communities across the state. Opponents of fracking fear that allowing the practice to flourish in some areas will breed catastrophic accidents that could affect all New York residents.

"Has governor Cuomo been hoodwinked by industry into thinking this is safe? The fact remains that New York needs to have some serious fundamental questions answered about the dangers of hydro- fracturing, not just carve out some special places to placate New York City," said Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.

"Governor Cuomo got it wrong when he said fracking can be done safely," said Claire Sandberg, Executive Director of Frack Action. "Not only does this practice carry an unacceptable level of risk, but there is no rationale for drilling when we know that the promises of limitless energy and continuous economic growth are not borne out by the facts."

The coalition also presented Governor Cuomo with a letter signed by 47 organizations urging him to ban fracking in New York.

"By banning fracking in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, the Cuomo administration is clearly demonstrating awareness about the potential for serious hazard to the citizens of those municipalities," said David Braun, co-founder of United for Action. " It is unacceptable however, that they create a double standard and leave the rest of the good citizens of New York state completely vulnerable to serious toxic threat, and protect only a portion of the population. Why are upstate citizens any less important?"

"Fracked natural gas is a dirty fuel that will make global warming worse," said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner, Friends of the Earth. "Governor Cuomo should put clean water and a safe environment ahead of gas company profits."

This opposition to fracking heats up here as other states have passed legislation banning the practice. Last week, the New Jersey State legislature sent Governor Chris Christie a bill that would ban fracking in the state, and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed fracking. To date, more than 60 municipalities in the United States have passed measures against fracking.

"It's clear that New Yorkers strongly oppose fracking, and want all of their water protected from it. Nearly 20,000 New Yorkers signed our petition to Governor Cuomo in just the first 24 hours," said Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager, CREDO Action. "It would be outrageous for Governor Cuomo to allow fracking in New York."

A recent investigative series by The New York Times found that the natural gas industry has exaggerated the economic benefits of fracking, while downplaying its risks to public health and the environment.

"It's wrong and unfair for the Cuomo administration to lift the ban on fracking, as it is a technology that has proven to destroy land, water, public health and economic growth," said Lois Marie Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. "It is especially despicable to provide an exception for the Syracuse and New York City watersheds, while opening up the rest of the state to hazardous drilling. If it's too dangerous for these urban areas, then it is too dangerous for all of New York. People across the state deserve equal protection. Governor Cuomo, don't frack New York!"

Opponents of fracking worry that Cuomo's support of the practice in some areas of New York signals a deference to industry. Thousands of New Yorkers have called Governor Cuomo's offices asking him to ban fracking and hundreds of concerned citizens have flooded his Facebook page, asking him to assert real leadership by banning fracking in New York.

Groups urging Governor Cuomo to ban fracking in New York include:

Food & Water Watch; Frack Action; CREDO Action; Center for Health, Environment & Justice; Citizen Action of New York; Friends of the Earth; Democracy for America; NYH20; Damascus Citizens for Sustainability; United for Action; WBAI-FM, NYC; New York Residents Against Drilling; WaterDefense; FarmHearts; Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group; Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition; Brooklyn Food Coalition; "Gasland"; Sane Energy Project; NY Permaculture Exchange; WNY Drilling Defense; No Frack NY; The Village Independent Democrats; Advocates for Morris; New Yorkers for Clean Water Inc.; NO Gas Pipeline; FrackAlert, Inc.; the Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist; Action for Justice Committee, the Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist; Westchester for Change; Democracy for New York City; People for a Healthy Environment; New York Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends; Environmental Task Force; Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water; Empire State Consumer Project; Slow Food New York City; STARK and Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition; Hudson River Sloop, Clearwater Inc.; Earth Day Network New York; Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy; Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County; NYC Network; Huntington BC Action Coalition; Coalition to Protect New York; Moving in Congregations, Acting in Hope; Clean Water New York; Gray Panthers, NYC Network.