The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Seth Gladstone–, 917.363.6615

Banning Fracking, Five Years Later: New York, Maryland and the Nation?

Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Action


Today marks the fifth anniversary of Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to ban fracking in New York State. This historic move was the result of a relentless grassroots campaign that pushed the governor to stop the fossil fuel industry from allowing the kind of gas drilling frenzy that was already causing serious public health and environmental harms in neighboring Pennsylvania.

While New York is protected from fracking itself, the health and environmental toll of the extreme extraction method has continued to grow across the country: Water contamination, air pollution, an array of grave human health effects, and crisis-level emissions of methane - a highly potent greenhouse gas - are wreaking havoc on our nation and planet.

Food & Water Action was the first national organization in America to call for a ban on fracking everywhere. After leading the successful grassroots ban campaign in New York, we helped win a ban on fracking in Maryland in 2017. Since then, Washington State has banned fracking, and Oregon has enacted a five-year moratorium.

Now fracking has emerged as one of the key issues that distinguishes Democratic presidential contenders. While Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren back a total ban, Pete Buttigieg supports only a much smaller ban, limited to federal lands. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has suggested that those seeking a ban on fracking "should vote for someone else."

On today's fifth anniversary of the fracking ban in New York, Food & Water Action Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

"It is hard to exaggerate the importance of our victory in banning fracking in New York, and how that victory has helped alter the debate on fracking nationally. At the time, calling for a ban on fracking was considered extreme and impractical. But we won by refusing to compromise on our core principles: Protecting the water we drink, the air we breathe and the climate we depend on.

"Five years on, the transformed national debate over fracking proves we were right. Bogus claims touting fracked gas as a so-called 'bridge fuel' have been exposed as dangerous industry propaganda, and a steady stream of political leaders are embracing the reality that fracking has no place on a safe, livable planet.

"The anti-fracking movement has also expanded its focus. Activists across the country are working nonstop to prevent the buildout of dangerous fossil fuel pipelines, compressor stations and power plants. Each new infrastructure project digs us deeper into a whole of dirty energy for decades to come, at the very moment we must move off fossil fuels entirely.

"The fight against fracking will continue to grow around strengthen across the country and the world. Our victory in New York was just the beginning."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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