Hundreds of New Yorkers from all over the state traveled to Albany today to warn lawmakers about the dangers of fracking.
I was one of them.
Fracking is a controversial method of gas extraction that involves blasting millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the ground. Across the country, gas production using fracking has been linked to contaminated drinking water, exploding wells, mysterious animal deaths and other unsettling incidents.
After widespread public pressure from people worried that fracking could pollute drinking water sources for millions of residents both upstate and in New York City, horizontal drilling for shale gas has effectively been halted until the state finishes a comprehensive environmental impact review. But the state still has not promised to update regulations that currently do not provide meaningful protections against the risks of fracking.
That was just one of the reasons I made the trip to Albany.
Our friends at Environmental Advocates of New York, Catskill Mountainkeeper and EARTHWORKS helped organize the day. The groups, along with Earthjustice, kicked off the New York Water Rangers campaign at the event, handing out t-shirts and buttons to deputize rally goers.
Speaking to a sea of folks in blue Water Rangers t-shirts, a full line-up of state lawmakers – including Senator Tony Avella, Senator David Carlucci, Assemblymembers Steve Englebright, Brian Kavanagh and Barbara Lifton—were on hand to assure rally-goers that they would not let allow the oil and gas industry to do to New York what they’ve done in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and, now, Pennsylvania.
The keynote speaker was film director Josh Fox, whose Oscar-nominated "Gasland" chronicles the impacts of the nation’s gas drilling boom. A Pennsylvania resident, he called New York the “center of sanity in the gas drilling world.”
Fox wasn’t the only Oscar nominee present. Brokeback Mountain star (and Brooklynite) Michelle Williams was also spotted in the crowd—wearing a No Fracking button.
Following two acoustic renditions of “No Fracking Way,” groups split into lobby teams to take their message straight to lawmakers. All in all, a great day.
We live blogged the event this morning. And there’ll be more live-blogging of events this week. Don’t miss a thing—follow @Earthjustice on Twitter!