Streams

Fracking Opponents Crash Cuomo Event Ahead of State's Decision

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A protest against the natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing disrupted a conference attended by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

At the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, men and women in business attire checked their Blackberries, schmoozed and listened to a panel discussion on clean technology, as over 100 protesters gathered outside. At same time, two protesters had slipped into the ballroom and planted themselves just tables away from Cuomo. The man and woman appeared to be attending the conference until they stood up and interrupted the discussion, unfurling a banner against the process commonly known as fracking.

The governor's security detail closed in on the couple, but not before the woman collapsed after pretending to drink a glass of poisoned water. The man was escorted out immediately.

After the event, Cuomo said there’s a lot of emotion surrounding the issue of fracking in the state. “The demonstrations, we've seen them pro, and we've seen them con, all over the state,” Cuomo said. “Let's make the decision on the facts. Let the science dictate the conclusion.”

(Photo: Fracking opponents protested outside a Midtown Manhattan hotel where Gov. Cuomo was attending a conference. Brigid Bergin/WNYC)

The governor’s environmental officials are expected to reveal their plans for limited fracking in New York communities after Labor Day. Both sides are gearing up for the announcement by running ads to try to sway the public to their point of view.

Industry and business groups that support fracking have been running advertisements for the past several weeks featuring real people who live in the Marcellus Shale region in New York’s Southern Tier, and who say they want the natural gas drilling to begin.

“I support the safe and responsible development of shale gas because it will be good for my county,” one woman in an ad said.

Cherie Messore, with the Independent Oil and Gas Association, a gas industry lobby group that is helping pay for the ads, said the comments in the ads are “sincere, unscripted, genuine comments.”

Katherine Nadeau, with Environmental Advocates, has been fighting for greater health and safety protections if fracking is allowed in New York. She doubts New Yorkers are being swayed the industry ads.

“I don’t think they’re going to fall for glitzy ad campaigns and for rosy promises,” Nadeau asserted. She counted in other states fracking has led to water contamination and other “serious community impacts.”

Anti-fracking groups have begun running their own ads. One from the Washington, D.C. based Food and Water Watch features a man lighting the water from his kitchen faucet on fire. It also targets Governor Cuomo directly, and claims that 50 percent of gas wells fail eventually, causing potential environmental harm.

Both sides will face a challenge convincing New Yorkers of their point of view. Steve Greenberg, spokesman for Siena College polling, says the public is split on the issue, with 39 percent for fracking and 38 percent against it.  Greenberg says politically, it’s a “lose- lose” situation for the governor.

“An elected official’s worst nightmare is when the voters are evenly divided, and that official has to pick A or B,” Greenberg said.

Cuomo said the views of localities who don’t want fracking “should be taken into consideration.”  The comment give weight to a scenario of permitting a limited number of wells at first, confined to communities who have expressed a desire to begin fracking.

Both pro- and anti-fracking groups are anxiously awaiting the state's decision, in the form of a final environmental impact statement from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Comments [15]

To Skippy from NY: Yes I drive a car, but I would drive an electric car if the price came down, so I could afford one. I would charge it with solar power. How can we make that happen if we keep subsidizing G & O?? It goes the same for heating our homes, what are the options?? Give me more options!! (BTW, I do not have A/C.) Fossil fuels are NOT the answer. You have only been listening to the G & O PR if you think fracking is safe. I know people who live with fracking, and they are NOT happy. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/environmental-defense-fund-stop-your-sell-out-to-the-gas-industry/

Aug. 28 2012 02:01 PM
Frack Offnow from ROC NY

Cuomo is trying to convey a sense of pragmatism when he talks about "science" being the guiding force of whether or not to allow high volume hydrofracturing in NYS. How's this for pragmatic common sense?: Just look south a few miles to our unfortunate neighbors in PA. That's all you need to know. Water contamination, big gas corporations using eminent domain to evict entire communities from their homes, rig blowouts, people becoming ill because of gas leaking from drill sites- that's just the tip of the iceberg- PA is fast becoming a hell on earth because of fracking. The "science" is manipulated by the industry . Cuomo's not an ignorant man- he sees all of this and he's being disingenuous.I like the Gov. for many reasons- I voted for him & his father. He will not get my vote if he allows the big dirty gas industry to lay waste to New York. Thousands of NYers feel the same way

Aug. 26 2012 01:19 PM
Skippy from NY

I lived in PA around all of the fracking for almost 3 years and never had water issues. I was at the bottom of a hill where fracking was done above me. I don't live in fear of it and welcome the opportunity for economic growth in our area. It surprises me that there are so many people against it. We have a wonderful opportunity to become self sustaining and grow economically. For those of you that are against it, I have a few questions...Do you drive gasoline cars? How do you heat your home? Do you use an air conditioner? My list could go on and on. All of the above mentioned things impact our environment, and yet you contribute to this very destruction of our environment without the blink of an eye!

Aug. 24 2012 09:24 PM
Charlie on the Delaware from On the Delaware

Thanks, Jennifer, for your concise and insightful comment. WNYC which seems to misdirect its listeners towards these pro-regulation insider NGOs when there are plenty of organizations fighting to BAN and not regulate this industrialization of our state. Shame on WNYC!

In my sports club, we're all too aware of organizations like Environmental Advocates and Trout unlimited that feed off bartering away our right to clean hunting and fishing.

Aug. 23 2012 10:17 PM
Ed13850

the anti-gassers are in defcon1 over this. Their initial position of "let's base this on facts" didn't work since science has shown it is done safely. Now the anti's are spinning innuendo and hyperbole to attract support. The anti's want no gas development, period, and will resort to any action to stop progress. They are nothing but ECO-TERRORISTS

Aug. 23 2012 09:50 PM
david decker from binghamton

Governor Cuomo,

Please do not allow fracking in the Binghamton Area. If you do you will be risking the water supply to New York City the area you love the most. Do not destroy the area that I live in.

Aug. 23 2012 08:03 PM
Lex from New York

Watch Gasland & The Sky Is Pink by Josh Fox. Seek the truth and abandon speculation. Do your own research. Talk to people who have experienced the effects of fracking. It is not the answer.

Aug. 23 2012 05:15 PM
unclefracker

It's mind-boggling how misinformed these opponents are, including the elected folks who pander to them and the media that loves to take video of hippies carrying signs. Oil imports are down because of nat gas drilling here; CO2 emissiions are at a 20-year low becuase of it; fracking has occurred (with drilling thruogh the water table) since the 50s, and there's not a single case of frack fluid coming in contact with the aquifer. And gas is cheap. What the heck are you people opposed to??

Aug. 23 2012 10:00 AM
Yerpez

Check out Josh Fox's new short documentary 'The Sky is Pink' online: http://vimeo.com/44367635

Aug. 23 2012 08:49 AM
Jennifer from Chelsea

Please interview people actually OPPOSED to fracking and working for a BAN.

You interview "Katherine Nadeau, with Environmental Advocates, has been fighting for greater health and safety protections if fracking is allowed in New York."

There you have it, big NGO's are working for REGULATION, not to stop it, in the meantime they collect donations from people and industry.

Aug. 23 2012 08:45 AM
k webster from NYC

Fracking has the potential to contaminate the potable water sources for everyone - underground aquifers don't follow human drawn county lines.
Of course you want income from your land, but your neighbors want to continue to be able to drink the water. Who has the greater right?
This governor could throw his weight towards a viable energy future - subsidize landholders to get wind and solar up and running - instead of our current practice of subsidizing big oil/gas and coal?

Aug. 23 2012 08:23 AM
gotgas from Southern Tier NY

Drill Baby Drill!!!

Aug. 23 2012 08:13 AM
thatgirl from nyc

"bring a soldier home??" on what planet would gas drilling bring a soldier home?

stop conflating our quest for more international oil sources with domestic gas drilling. everyone knows methane gas drilled here goes on the worldwide market, to the highest bidder. no gas is "saved" for domestic use. have you any idea of the international reach of those companies looking to drill in the marcellus? get educated, and stop the silly flag-waving. cheap methane gas is NOT going to solve our oil issues, ever!

Aug. 23 2012 01:43 AM
virtuallyme from chenango county

if its legal for you to use it, it should be legal for me to harvest it
drill a gas well, bring a soldier home

Aug. 22 2012 10:54 PM
Laura

Check out Josh Fox's documentary, Gasland.

Aug. 22 2012 09:33 PM

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