Protesters Rally Against Fracking Outside Skelos HQ

Protesters say fracking can cause irreversible damage to the environment and state aquifers.

Don't frack New York.

Once you frack, you can't go back.

Those were the rally chants of about 70 protesters outside Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' on Front Street in Rockville Centre Thursday afternoon, urging the legislator to support a ban of hydraulic fracking in New York — a process that pumps water, chemicals and sand underground to extract natural gas from shale bedrock.

Sam Bernhardt, a representative from Food & Water Watch who organized the rally, said fracking is an inherently dangerous process that can pollute the air and state water supply. "Fracking in any part of New York will affect all New Yorkers," he said.

According to a press release handed out by Bernhardt, fracking lays down blankets of smog, fills roadway with trucks hauling hazardous materials, sends sediment into streams, and generates immense quantities of radioactive, carcinogen-laced waste. Since fracking began in states outside of New York, there have been more than 1,000 cases of water contamination. More than 100 towns and counties in the state have already enacted bans or moratoria on fracking.

Patti Wood, executive director of the Grassroots Environmental Education, said that fracking poses an unprecedented risk that puts the health of families and future generations in danger.

"We need to reduce our dependancy on fossil fuels, but our elected officials don't have the guts to do anything about it," Wood said.


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Chris Wales, a protester from Mineola, said he protested because elected officials didn't inform the public of the dangers associated with fracking. "They portrayed it like everything was fine," he said. "There's no regulation for this intrusive process. It's not the best way to get natural resources."

Lou Sabatini from MoveOn.org agreed with Wales, saying he didn't understand how the state could move forward with fracking without conducting an environmental study. "It's outrageous," he said. "They're going to put our health in jeopardy without doing a study?"

In a statement from Sen. Dean Skelos' office, the Senate Majority Leader said he's following the State Department of Environmental Conservation review of fracking and the public should allow them to decide if it's safe for New York.

"I continue to monitor the review process being conducted by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on hydraulic fracking, which most regard as a measured, thorough and scientific process that has included ample opportunity for public input," he said. "We should allow the DEC to continue to do its job, complete its study, and make recommendations on the future of hydraulic fracking in New York State."

Vermont is the lone state to pass a state-wide ban on fracking.

AnneMarie Ansel August 18, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Well Frank, the fact that 69% of our energy is derived from fossil fuels is a great problem in itself. We should be concentrating our efforts to develop more energy from renewable sources. And before you say that we can never supply enough, take a look at Germany. They supply over 90% of there energy from renewable sources.
Frank September 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
@ Anne Marie: WRONG!!! ec.europa.eu/energy/energy_policy/doc/factsheets/.../mix_de_en.pdf Germany Power mix is as follows: 10% Renewables 32% Nuclear 11% Gas 4% Oil 43% Solid Fuels (coal, trash, etc.) My God you all are so misinformed!!!!
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Ron March 13, 2013 at 04:25 PM
I can guarantee you with 100% certainty that not single one of these 70 protesters have visited the region that could be fracked or talked to a person who lives in the region that could be fracked. This is all about stopping natural gas drilling because it competes with wind or solar. Nothing else. God could come down from the sky and say fracking is safe, and it wouldn't change their minds.
Ron March 13, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Frank, they don't care. They think wind and solar (and a little hydro) will power our current economy, plus power 150 million electric cars by 2030. They are certifiable nut jobs.


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