NY Anti-Fracking Groups Join Forces

Sensing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be close to moving forward with issuing permits for shale gas drilling, anti-drilling groups are joining forces in New York State to form a coalition called New Yorkers Against Fracking. Movie star Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner (the Hulk) in the upcoming movie The Avengers, is on board with the effort. (Those who support drilling may want to consider bypassing The Avengers to send a message to Mr. Ruffalo and Hollywood.)

Dozens of grass-roots environmental groups have joined forces to launch a coordinated campaign to ban natural gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York state.

The effort launched Monday comes as the state Department of Environmental Conservation works to complete a four-year review of whether shale gas development using the controversial technology known as “fracking” can be done safely under strict regulations.

Also Monday, a New York State Assembly proposal for an independent health impact study of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has been dropped during budget negotiations. Numerous physicians and environmental groups criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for blocking the $100,000 Assembly appropriation for a health study.

Cuomo has said a decision on whether to permit fracking in New York is likely in several months.

Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and environmental writer who recently won the Heinz Award for her work on how chemical contaminants in air, water and food endanger human health, said she’ll donate much of her $100,000 prize money to start the anti-fracking coalition, New Yorkers Against Fracking.

Among other things, the coalition plans to fund advertising to get its message out. A clip from the first such video will be aired Wednesday night on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, coalition member Claire Sandberg said. Actor Mark Ruffalo, an outspoken anti-fracking advocate and member of the coalition, is scheduled as a guest on the show.*

*Syracuse The Post Standard (Mar 26, 2012) – New York environmental groups join to form coalition to work for hydrofracking ban