Toxics Targeting and Citizen Action are joining forces to call on thousands of people to raise their voices about the hydrofracking debate.
“We’re all going to show up and confront the president that it is simply irresponsible to support shale fracking without assessing the health risks and adopting a pollution liability protection,” said Walter Hang, Toxics Targeting President.
Walter Hang, the owner of Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting and a well-known organizer in the Southern Tier, said he's focusing his efforts on the Binghamton University stop.
In an email Monday to thousands of fracking critics, Hang said the Obama visit will "dwarf all others in importance."
"We're working with as many groups as we possibly can to make this a national event on shale fracking," Hang said. "We're going to be putting out the call to action to groups in Pennsylvania and Ohio and all over New York."
President Obama is planning on visiting upstate New York next week to promote an education plan. But whenever a major politician visits the region, the issue of fracking is often on the agenda, whether they like it or not.
President Obama’s planned trip to Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton will focus on the importance of getting an affordable college education.
But activists opposed to hydro fracking want the topic of natural gas drilling to be on the agenda as well.
“We’re going to be present in Binghamton by the hundreds if not the thousands,” says Walter Hang, with the Ithaca based Toxics Targeting.
Hang says protesters are expected at the President’s other stops, as well, but the Southern Tier, which is at the epicenter of the gas drilling debate, will feature the largest demonstration.
Monday night brought the TV premiere of Gasland II , a sequel to the original anti- hydro fracking movie. In New York, where Governor Cuomo’s decision on fracking is still on hold, both opponents and supporters of fracking say the films have helped frame the debate.
Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox is a frequent participant in anti fracking rallies at the State Capitol that routinely attract hundreds of people.
Walter Hang, with the group Toxics Targeting, says in New York, the 2010 Gasland movie contributed to what has now become a five year delay on whether to allow hydro fracking in the state.
“It did help to make the grass roots organizing much more effective,” Hang said. “There’s no dispute about that.”