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Can a Small Community Throw a Monkey Wrench Into the Global Fracking Machine?

Woodstock, the iconic counter-culture capital of the world, has become the first municipality to call for legislation to make fracking a Class C felony.

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“To this day,” LeBrun continues, “the public has not a clue as to what the health department is actually looking at, what’s being reviewed, whether any recommendations for change will be made. That’s all being kept secret by the administration. And apart from the names of the three respected public health experts from outside the state vetting the health department’s work, we know nothing of what they are being asked to vet, whether they, too, can make any recommendations, [or] what the limits of their oversight might be.”

The rule-making on fracking “has been from hell, an abomination,” LeBrun said. “The public has been deceived, misdirected and kept utterly in the dark over where the state was heading concerning the most important environmental issue of this generation.”

Frackbusters NY says New York’s oil and gas mining laws, as currently written, “disempower citizens and communities while treating corporate fracking and fracking-related activities as legal, despite the extreme and irreversible harm this industrial process causes.” It further charges that the New York DEC “functions as a pro-corporate agency, enabling hazardous extraction processes that benefit the few against the interests of local communities and the vast majority of citizens.”

The DEC’s behavior in its environmental review of fracking seems to bear out the group’s allegation. Under existing state law, DEC must publish its environmental review, a document known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or SGEIS, at least ten days before it releases its final decision. The SGEIS will contain the reasoning behind the DEC’s decisions on fracking as well as whether or not it will be permitted in New York.

If the state is to meet its February 27 deadline to finalize its regulations and lift the de facto moratorium on fracking, the SGEIS would have to be published by  February 13.

But whether Cuomo approves fracking or not, this high-stakes fight will undoubtedly continue.

To the deep-pocketed and politically powerful fossil fuel industry—which has run out of large, easily exploited reservoirs of fossil fuels—fracking is the only way to get at much of the vast supplies of what is left. Global warming or not, the fossil fuel sector is aggressively securing as much of those sources as they can throughout the world.

To those concerned about the immediate harm to their health, the environment, and their communities, as well as the continued existence of our species and other life forms we share the planet with, stopping fracking is a question of life and death.

If Cuomo does approve fracking in New York, thousands have pledged to continue the resistance with acts of civil disobedience. Can ordinary citizens prevail, Occupy Style, when the money piles are high, and the stakes even higher? Stay tuned.

 
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