Activists for statewide ban on toxic waste producing gas drilling disrupt DEC dSGEIS hearing in NYC
Video here of a portion of rally for statewide ban:
(New York City, 11/10) A burgeoning movement to counter proposals for a two-tiered standard of environmental protection from shale gas drilling in New York State erupted in the first New York City DEC hearing on the proposed State regulations. The filled-to-capacity hearing began – as usual – with elected officials testifying, with clear intent that they would leave before listening to the hours of testimony for a statewide ban by New York City residents. But as Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler introduced his divisive approach of protecting only a small portion of the State’s vast environment, a city representative of the movement for a statewide ban on the dangerous practice walked up onto the stage.Taking the stage, Alex Johnson, a life-long resident of New York City, declared to much applause, “We want a statewide ban. We don’t need hearings to regulate this. Gas drilling is dangerous and we need to ban it. We stand with thousands of New Yorkers –and most of you here tonight– in demanding a statewide ban on the use of the destructive fossil fuel extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing in New York’s Marcellus and other shales.”Alluding to the rally for a statewide ban and the simultaneous press conference by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to ban drilling in the “New York City watershed” Johnson emphasized, “We reject the divisive call for a ban for New York City’s water by slippery politicians and corporate environmental organizations. We call on elected officials to represent the clear opinions of experts and citizens that this process is too dangerous to allow anywhere in New York State.”Many New Yorkers in the audience applauded and continued to speak out. Wendy Malcom of the Safe Water Movement stood up in the audience calling for recognition that the DEC hearing was merely to facilitate drilling. “Don’t Frack New York State,” Ms. Malcom chanted. “Groups across the state including the Haudenosaunee Iroquois Confederation declared they would not participate in the drilling hearing because the DEC is using the hearings to promote gas drilling. Our communities and the planet are facing a climate catastrophe that requires Governor Paterson to ban gas drilling and promote a transition to 100% renewables within 10 years.”Fifty-one (51) organizations across New York State (many based in New York City) have declared their support of a statewide ban as expressed in the recently released petition.Johnson shouted as he was being escorted that “the DEC is mandated to facilitate even environmentally disastrous gas exploration and drilling in our State. Governor Paterson can ban this process. The electorate must reclaim control over the commons, to protect our water supplies from irreversible contamination, and to develop sustainable energy alternatives.”
The intervention by the twenty activists was met with much applause. Some were escorted from the hearing place.
For more information, go to www.un-naturalgas.org
For interviews, call: Laura Sheinkopf, 516.314.0011