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Open Letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo: Do Not Lift Fracking Moratorium!

New York is about to lift its ban on hydrofracking. Will Governor Cuomo listen to local activists?

Dear Governor Cuomo:




As a former farmer, trained environmentalist, researcher, and independent journalist, I have spent much of the last three years learning and writing about fracking. I am a cofounder of the  Coalition to Protect New York , among other actively engaged organizations working to ban fracking in our state and elsewhere.

We do not trust the Department of Environmental Conservation to get things right on fracking. Even if it were a reliable and trustworthy agency, the DEC’s budget has been cut so drastically and its workforce decimated to the point that it’s virtually hamstrung.

We do not trust — nor should any sensible, informed citizen or legislator — corporate-bought politicians and corporate "scientists."  For the moment we must trust that you are not among that group and that you truly want to do what is right for New York State.

In these tough economic, energy and environmental times it will take a visionary, forward-thinking leader to bring the state into the future with an innovative energy/jobs/climate-change- effects-lessening plan.

You can be that leader, if you have the desire and political will.

We hear that you are thinking of  lifting the moratorium  for the state outside the New York City watershed (because Wall Street traders, corporate tycoons and big bankers live downstate) and the Syracuse watershed (tossing a bone to the rest of the state, according to cynics), while throwing the rest of us to the wolves.

If you actually do this, it would mean you think of the rest of the state’s residents and environment as expendable. I think at this point, you’d be committing political suicide.

Many millions of New Yorkers now know what is at stake with fracking, and more are coming to that understanding daily as they learn of its ills in other places.

That speaks to the dedication of my fellow antifracking activists, who are fighting an industry that can without blinking an eye drop $150 million or more yearly to hoodwink the public and lobby legislators with false propaganda. Their ads claim that “natural” gas is “clean, safe, domestic, and patriotic,” that it’s an economic panacea for struggling workers whose jobs have been eliminated or sent abroad.

As you surely know, these are all false claims.

Governor, you should not even consider lifting the moratorium. The only sensible, responsible, long-term response to the devastating practice of fracking (a response that would also greatly offset our economic woes) is to:

1) immediately institute a statewide fracking ban ( New Jersey’s legislature  just passed one; it’s waiting for Governor Christie’s signature, which is probably not forthcoming; but you could be the first);

2) invest in wide-scale updating and reinforcing of infrastructures and in conservation/energy-efficiency rehabilitating existing public and private buildings and homes;

3) commit to the building and maintenance of long-term energy-efficient public transportation and codify mandatory greater fuel efficiency in all private and public large, small, agricultural, and industrial vehicles;

4) invest in research, development and implementation of renewable, sustainable neighborhood- and local-based energy systems, and write and enforce laws mandating the phase-out of all fossil-fuel based systems;

5) protect and keep public all drinking water supplies;

6) promote and foster healthful, organic agriculture and food distribution models; and

7) invest in public education programs about conservation, the reduction of energy consumption and renewable energy strategies.

Following such a plan would save money through conservation. It would reduce our need for and dependence on fossil fuels (which, as you know, is unsustainable, even in the short term). It would also create plenty of safer, stabler, longer-term jobs, as the “green” sector expands with innovative new projects.

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