You are here

Protesters ready for State of the State address


Roughly 100 people protesting the potential approval of hydraulic fracturing in New York state are assembling in the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza near the hall where Gov. Andrew Cuomo will present his State of the State speech.

In an effort to bring attention to the practice, in which water and chemicals are blasted at high velocities at shale formations to extract natural gas, members of New York Residents Against Drilling and Frack Action gathered in front of the Convention Center where the governor will be delivering his much-anticipated address to New Yorkers today.

Protestors are especially concerned about the Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) which, they say, does not address the concerns of New Yorkers well enough.

Elaine Eerkus, a representative from NYRAD, said "the purpose here today is to send Governor Cuomo a clear message that we do not want fracking in the Southern Tier [of New York]."

Walter Hang, president of Toxic Targeting and the organizer of today's protest, said he supports Comptroller DiNapoli's proposal to introduce a Natural Gas Damage Recovery Fund into SGEIS. This proposal, similar to the Oil Spill Fund, would ensure that companies are held responsible for accidents involving natural gas extraction. "The problem with the petroleum spill remediation fund is it doesn't have enough money. There are 140,000 spills in New York that don't meet the applicable standards. [DiNapoli's] current system is woefully inadequate," said Hang.

Rev. Ellen Sokolow, a resident of Oneonta, said she came to Albany in hopes that Cuomo would work to ensure the practice does not come to New York state. Sokolow, not affiliated with any environmental group, called herself a representative of "the residents of New York" who was inspired to take action after seeing the movie Gas Land. "Everybody around the world is looking to New York state to stop this," she said. "New Yorkers have a very special spirit."