Anti-Drillers in NY Angry with Gov. Cuomo Over Green Light for Drilling, Some Threaten Civil Disobedience

Now that it’s clear that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo intends to lift the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and allow drilling in the Marcellus Shale to proceed, groups that oppose drilling are expressing their disappointment in a very public way. Some of the more extreme elements are even threatening civil disobedience.

Walter Hang, an Ithaca-based activist and president of Toxics Targeting, said it’s time for citizens opposed to fracking to shout their message louder until Albany gets it.

"Citizens now have had an incredible wake-up call. And if they don’t want horizontal hydrofracking in their communities, the only thing that they can do is make sure that the draft SGEIS is not adopted in final form," Hang said. "And I think you’re going to be seeing civil disobedience, because I think people believed that this is going to be an honest, open process, that the governor was going to do what he said, which is to revise this document and provide good government. And I think it’s like people feel they’ve been kicked in the teeth.

"This is a call to arms," Hang continued. "People really have to realize that the governor has not heard our message, he is not dealing with the substantive technical concerns, and we’ve got to make more noise."(1)

A comment from the Catskill Mountainkeeper organization about the Delaware River Basin being left out of the watershed prohibition under the new drilling rules:

"A road map for the industrialization of the Catskills; the fact that the Delaware River isn’t protected is outrageous," said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. "It’s clear they haven’t developed a plan to deal with wastewater and there’s no cumulative impact study. We’ll fight like hell to stop this."(2)

In a press release issued yesterday in response to a New York Times article, Environmental Advocates of New York said this:

Environmental Advocates of New York is incredulous that Governor Cuomo, who in past statements has said "We should not pursue it [high volume hydraulic fracturing] unless and until we know that environmentally it is safe…" and that New York’s watersheds are "sacrosanct," would try to circumvent a thorough environmental review process already underway. Such an action would be a radical departure from a sound, responsible decision-making process.

According to the story in today’s New York Times, the moratorium will be lifted in all parts of the state except the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. This, too, is a departure from the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) efforts to protect all of New York’s watersheds. All parts of the state deserve to be protected equally from this environmentally destructive drilling technique.

We are calling on the Governor and the DEC to thoroughly investigate the safety concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing, including recent accidents and environmental contamination in other states, and to update New York State’s more than 30-year-old oil and gas mining regulations and put forth a strict regulatory framework for such drilling.(3)

Finally, a New York Post editorial today makes the following point about the inevitable opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s decision from some environmental groups:

Even in New York, a 2009 state report urged officials to let drillers frack away.

Since then, the Department of Environmental Conservation commissioned mountains of research conducted by independent consultants and spent more than 10,000 hours studying the issue.

And the DEC still wants to ban fracking in watersheds for the city and Syracuse, on land within 500 feet of primary aquifers and on state-owned property.

That’s a reasonable compromise.

(Mayor Bloomberg said he was satisfied, and even Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver seems open to it, after having balked at first.)

But don’t expect the greenies to buy in.

They’ll no doubt keep up the hysteria—because they are opposed to hydro-carbon-based energy, no matter what.

To hell with them.

Cuomo’s on the right track.(4)

The Post gets it. No matter what, those who are opposed will continue their opposition because it’s a carbon-based energy source, and that’s anathema to their philosophy of renewal sources only—a dangerously naive point of view in MDN’s humble opinion.

(1) Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Jun 30, 2011) – DEC issues tougher recommendations for hydrofracking

(2) Times Herald-Record (Jul 1, 2011) – ‘Fracking’ ban omits river land, infuriating foes

(3) Environmental Advocates of New York Press Release (Jun 30, 2011) – Environmental Watchdog Group Calls Greenlight of Gas Industry a ‘Radical Departure’

(4) New York Post (Jul 1, 2011) – Frack, baby, frack!