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Open season for fracking in New York
"The pregnant mother who drinks unfiltered water from a rural well in the Susquehanna River valley has the same right to environmental protection as the mother in Manhattan who drinks unfiltered water brought to her from the off-limits New York City watershed.”
So said Dr. Sandra Steingraber recently, in response to Governor Cuomo’s plan to allow for hydraulic fracturing in certain areas of New York state. Steingraber, a biologist and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College, is also a member of the New Yorkers Against Fracking Advisory Committee. Her statements were echoed by many other New Yorkers in reaction to the governor’s proposed plan, which would put folks in some of the most economically vulnerable areas of the state at risk.
The Governor’s plan calls for limited fracking in counties along the Pennsylvania boarder. These are the communities that stand to loose the most as the negative consequences of fracking inevitably rear their ugly head. They are the communities least equipped to deal with the cancer risks, birth defects, asthma, and other health concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing. They are the communities of farmers least prepared to deal with the loss of land should their property be rendered useless and unsalable as a result of groundwater contamination. These are the folks most desperate to save their communities, and painted with the right brush, natural gas could seem a good enough gamble if left with little other choice. That these are the folks the Governor's plan chooses to use as guinea pigs in the New York fracking debate is unjust in every way.
Horror stories of flammable tap water, exploding homes, and increased rates of disease have left many people shaken at the prospect of fracking in their communities. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has received over 70,000 comments, the vast majority of them negative, in response to proposed fracking regulations released last September that would end New York's current ban, shattering the previous record on public responses by nearly 62,000—clear evidence that New Yorkers are against fracking.
This is perhaps the biggest reason New York state has at all hesitated to leap into fracking with such reckless abandon as neighboring Pennsylvania, which currently boasts more than 4,000 wells. But that we should test the waters, so to speak, in areas of the state in the grips of economic turmoil is a clear case of environmental injustice.
Please call Governor Cuomo today, and every day, at 866-961-3208 and tell him that New York needs jobs, not flammable tap water and carcinogenic air emissions.
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