You are here

Supplemental Data Services

Obama heads to center of NY fracking debate

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."

Obama to be Greeted by Anti Fracking Protesters In Upstate 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.

Fracking Opponents In New York Say Gasland Movies Help


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.”

Drilling supporters and opposition press their case as Cuomo visits




Isaac Silberman-Gorn, a member of Citizens Action, left, and Walter Hang, of Toxics Targeting, right, join anti-fracking protesters on the Binghamton University campus Thursday morning. JEFF RICHARDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

VESTAL — While Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Binghamton University on Thursday to tout his Tax-Free NY initiative, about 50 protesters were focused on another topic: shale gas fracking.

The protesters camped outside the University Union East building, where Cuomo spoke, and held signs voicing their opposition to fracking in New York, often chanting anti-drilling slogans.

“This can not be done safely, and we don’t want it here in our community,” said Isaac Silberman-Gorn, environmental organizer at Citizen Action of New York.

While the opposition was pressing its case at Cuomo’s local appearance, landowner groups were trying to rally support in Albany. The state’s largest coalition of pro-drilling landowners hosted a forum Thursday, making the case for the soundness of hydraulic fracturing to an audience that featured lawmakers from both houses.

The panel discussion was billed as a response to Cuomo’s recent criticism of pro-fracking groups for not doing more to educate the public and allay concerns raised over the safety of shale-gas drilling.

Last week, Cuomo said he will make a decision on the fate of natural gas drilling in New York before the 2014 election. The governor is awaiting the completion of a review by State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah.

Though Cuomo’s presentation at BU was on his tax-free initiative, he addressed the fracking debate when pressed by reporters following his economic development talk. He repeated his common line on the topic, saying the decision is one that should be made based on science rather than emotion.

“The DEC commissioner and the health commissioner are analyzing the data and when they have a decision, that will be the decision and the path the state follows,” Cuomo said.

Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, which is headquartered in Ithaca, said the health commissioner’s review is improper, as it is being completed without public input. “The governor is simply not listening.”

Pages