For over four years, New Yorkers have been fighting to keep the state safe from fracking, a dangerous method of drilling for natural gas that involves injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with toxic chemicals and sand underground to break open shale rock formations that contain the gas.
The cause of groundwater contamination, air pollution and even earthquakes, fracking is also disastrous for the climate because it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.
As the gas and oil industry have pushed to begin fracking in upstate New York, concerned citizens have assembled in town halls, rallied in the Capitol, petitioned door-to-door, lobbied their legislators and called Gov. Andrew Cuomo. While the most powerful corporations in the world have spent millions to convince the public that fracking is safe, this growing grassroots movement has kept them at bay, thereby protecting the public health and environment of New York.
Cuomo has repeatedly said that science will determine whether or not to allow fracking in New York, but that must mean listening to the countless medical experts, scientists and health organizations all calling for outside comprehensive health studies and a New York-specific health impact assessment.
Although the current delays are promising, the truth is that drilling permits could still be issued any day. In this David and Goliath story we’re winning, but we have not yet won.
False promises of “energy independence” and job creation continue to be promulgated in the media and by national political leaders. In reality, much of the natural gas extracted from New York would end up exported. And in a boom-and-bust economy, the jobs that fracking would bring to New York are temporary and often done by transient, out-of-state workers.
Instead of sacrificing our precious clean water, air and land for short-term gains, there is another way. Fracking is a problem that has led to a solution.
Thanks to Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobsen, economists and scientists at Cornell University and the University of California-Davis, we have a road map to wean New York off fossil fuels by 2030 through large-scale development of water, wind and solar power. If Cuomo adopted this plan, New York could become the national leader in renewable energy, creating thousands of permanent jobs that build healthy, thriving communities.
We can create a sustainable future for New York. Please call Cuomo today at 866-584-6799 and urge him to protect our health and the environment. Don’t frack New York.
Mark Ruffalo is an actor and Advisory Committee member of New Yorkers Against Fracking.