News came this week that Governor Cuomo is considering allowing hydrofracking on a limited basis in certain parts of the state, namely the Southern Tier. Thursday, anti-fracking advocates rallied across the state, calling on Cuomo to ban the drilling practice altogether. Fracking opponents in Syracuse were in front of the Region Seven DEC office. That’s where we found our Katie Gibas.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Hydrofracking is an issue that divides neighbors. Many struggling communities want the economic benefits. Opponents say the potential health risks are too concerning.
"The carcinogens that are used in the process and so those of us who have had that experience of getting a cancer diagnosis and know the devastation that that brings do not want to see these substances unleashed in any place in New York State," said Andi Gladstone, New York State Breast Cancer Network Executive Director. "Nobody's doing the health impact study. Where is the health impact study? It just seems insane to move forward with something like this without knowing that it's safe. And the burden of proof is on the industry."
Dozens of opponents held an anti-fracking rally Thursday in front of the Region 7 DEC building in Syracuse. It was part of Statewide Action Day organized by New Yorkers Against Fracking.
"I've looked at the data and there's no way that you can blow up the bedrock underneath our feet and do it in a so-called safe way," said Sandra Steingraber, a New Yorkers Against Fracking Co-Founder.
Gladstone added, "We support a ban on hydrofracking. We do not believe that it is safe. You cannot pump those kinds of substances into the earth and have it be safe."
The rally comes a day after Governor Andrew Cuomo says he's considering allowing fracking in certain parts of the state, mostly economically struggling areas in the Southern Tier who both want and approve fracking.
"We in New Yorkers Against Fracking see the partitioning of our state into fracking and no fracking zones as a violation of environmental justice, in the same way that the Mason Dixon line once separated people who were enslaved from people who were free," said Steingraber.
The DEC gave its initial blessing on hydrofracking last year, and it's expected state lawmakers will vote on the issue this summer. Opponents say it should be the public health that is the administration's main concern and not the economy.
A Cuomo Spokesman says no final decision has been made and there will not be one until a scientific review is complete.
About 100 municipalities across the state have passed bans on hydrofracking. Still dozens of others in the Southern Tier and Western New York passed legislation in favor of the drilling they hope could bring economic prosperity to their towns.