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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.

Frank June 14, 2012 at 08:41 PM
People don't seem to realize that we cannot sustain our thirst for power and electricity without fossil fuels. FACT: The majority of our energy is derived from fossil fuels; about 69% of US energy in 2010 came from fossil fuels: 25% oil 22% coal 22% natural gas Nuclear was about 9% hydroelectric at 8% and the remaining from renewables (trash to cash, wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) This is Directly @ Protesters: I hear ya: Oil is bad, Coal is Bad, Natural Gas is Bad, Nuclear is Bad, Dams are bad... Yada Yada Yada So how do you propose to generate 86% of our domestic power needs without them? We need natural gas (the cleaner "fossil fuel") and hydrofracking can be done responsibly. Just look at Chevron's hydrofracking process. http://www.chevron.com/weagree/?statement=shale Note to Cuomo: Chevron by far has the most environmentally friendly method of extracting natural gas from shale. Many of you "muggles" (those without engineering or science degrees) need to do research before "flying off the handle".
Drew June 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Frank clearly you know what you're talking about and you present some really good facts. It's too bad you sound so defensive and angry. Protests and counterpoints are part of the "checks and balances" process.
kevin June 15, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Right On Frank!!
Frank June 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I will add this note @ Protesters: You're decrying Fracking and the potential damage to the NY Upstate environment. What about the ecological damage Nassau County is wrecking on the Western Bays? Bay Park dumps a Supertanker a day ( about 60 million gallons) of Sewage and over 11,000 gallons a day of bleach into the Western Bays. The powerplant in Island Park raises bay water temperatures with impunity (thermal pollution) with its antiquated single pass cooling system (aka OTC), instead of using cooling towers that can recover up to 99% of the cooling water that would otherwise end up in the Western Bays. There's a near perpetual ban on all shellfishing in South Nassau. Countless beach closings every summer. Awful stench that stretches for miles. Bacteria levels in the waters qualify it as a biohazard. God forbid your kid takes a dip in the western bays... we're taking about MRSA or worse. And let's talk about the methane flares at the sewage plants. Instead of putting biogas ( a renewable fuel) to good use by generating power, you allow the county to burn it instead. The electrical generation alone would offset treatment costs and relieve the county of buying millions of gallons of diesel fuel for power. Yet there are no protests at Skelos' office begging for the extension of the outflow pipes into the Atlantic, the wasteful flaring of biogas, cooling towers for Island Park Power Plant,,, nothing... You are all a bunch of hypocrites.
AnneMarie Fessler Ansel June 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Well Frank, why don't you protest the dumping? Don't leave all the work up to the same people for every issue. Everyone has a responsibility to be informed and protect our environment. Too many people just want to sit on the seidlines and complain without taking action. Be proactive.
Frank June 15, 2012 at 07:10 PM
@ AnneMarie. So you're telling me the only protest worthwhile for LIers is the potential environmental impact of upstate hydrofracking and not the ongoing onslaught of the Western Bays ecosystem by Nassau County? you can literally smell the sewage from Skelos' office. what same people? please explain. And please explain why these LIers are protesting an Upstate issue when we clearly have an ecological disaster in our own backyard? Makes no sense at all. BTW Tell me where you want my stack of letters to Kate Murray, Mangano, Suozzi, Gulotta, Skelos, NYS DEP, EPA, Governors Pataki, Spitzer, Patterson, and Cuomo sent to and you can see for yourself how long I've been at it. You can post the address on my profile if you wish.
Drew June 15, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Frank if there is more info to read on the Western Bays issue please post a link. Very disturbing.
Frank June 15, 2012 at 10:48 PM
here you go Drew: www.citizenscampaign.org/PDFs/Position%20paper_bays.pdf www.citizenscampaign.org/campaigns/western-bays.asp www.estuary.cog.ny.us/background.../West.Bays.SoMAS.study.pdf http://centralli.surfrider.org/all-campaigns/campaigns/ http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=328747&&year=2010& http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record_print.cfm?id=328747 http://www.jennifersmithjournalist.com/word.html , select "westernbays" document. http://fivetowns.patch.com/articles/weisenberg-don-t-bring-hydrofracking-chemicals-to-li http://fivetowns.patch.com/articles/hearings-for-sewer-plant-privatization-plan-in-works http://mineola.patch.com/articles/residents-demand-fix-to-bay-park-treatment-plant-plume http://lynbrook.patch.com/articles/state-budget-includes-funding-for-bays-pollution-study-35c533d8 (this was my write up in Lynbrook patch with some good links (BTW, I incorrectly stated the volumetric flow rate in that article... I said 7 million gallons. it is actually 58 million gallons!!)) http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/report-bay-park-sewage-plant-is-li-s-worst-1.3286430 http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/4014.html this link is a map of where shellfishing is "uncertified". translation: don't eat anything out of that water... The guy I blame for the fracking frenzy on LI is assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, district 20. He makes fracking sound like "the original sin", while his constituents wallow in sewage. Too funny.
Jim Bo June 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Too much fracking around in the Village of No.
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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