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Activists Call For Moratorium On Hydrofracking

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Actor Mark Ruffalo raises a jar of tainted water from a home near a Pennsylvania gas drilling well.

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – Activists united against hydrofracking gathered at the State Capitol in Albany to make their message heard - Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Iconic American Folk Singer and environmentalist Pete Seeger, took a break from celebrating his 69th Wedding Anniversary to attend the rally in support of a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State. Hydrofracking entails pumping a mixture of chemicals and water underground to force methane gas out: the waste product, called "produced water" is listed by the U.S. Department of Energy as among the most toxic of any oil industry byproduct. Seeger and the activists are concerned that hydrofracking could create a disaster of the magnitude of the Gulf Oil Spill. Seeger says there are alternatives, like wind and solar power.

Seeger was joined outside the Senate Chamber by Actor Mark Ruffalo, politician and other activists, calling on the New York State Legislature to put partisan politics aside and pass a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. In other states, oil and gas drilling projects that use waste pits have leached toxic chemicals into the water supply. Ruffalo made an example of Pennsylvania, as did Martha Robertson, who chairs the Tompkins County Legislature.

PEF Representative Wayne Bayer says the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been weakened by legislative changes, budget cuts and staffing shortages that have crippled its ability to address future requests for hydraulic fracturing gas drilling permits. The DEC hopes to put the finishing touches on statewide policy for hydrofracking later this year.

Related: Skaneateles sets moratorium on hydrofracking