As the spring temperatures climbed, they streamed into the park and kept on coming. Hundreds of people from across New York State gathered in Albany for a Fracking Day of Action to collectively ask policymakers to do what it takes to safeguard vital water resources, public health, and the environment from dirty gas drilling.
Many of us also became Water Rangers as part of the launch of a public awareness and media campaign supported by the Clean Water Not Dirty Drilling network. The campaign invites New Yorkers to become part of the growing team of citizens taking action to protect our water and communities from dirty drilling.
Endorsed by over 40 national, state, and grassroots organizations, the Day of Action reflected a growing movement of citizens concerned about the damaging impacts of a rush to drill in other states. We collectively showed determination to ensure that communities and the environment are protected before industrial gas development occurs (and even consider that it not occur at all).
New York’s stay on permits for fracturing with horizontal drilling is set to expire in June, and the Department of Environmental Conservation will issue the second round of a draft environmental impact statement on the process over the summer. That’s why Day of Action participants didn t just come for the speeches and music but also visited over 150 legislative offices to lobby for several bills that would ensure regulation, oversight, and accountability of the gas industry and prevent damage to water and communities. We also asked that the state hold hearings on the public health impacts of gas drilling, which are tragically evident nationwide.
All this seems only logical, and we left Albany hoping our elected officials were listening. As Assemblyman Steven Englebright said at the rally, The gas has been in the ground for 360 million years what’s a few more to answer the questions that need answering to protect New York?