There is no hydrofracking proposed for the Syracuse area, but fracking opponents came to the city Tuesday to again call for a ban on the procedure. YNN's Bill Carey says they're hoping their message is being heard, not just in Syracuse, but in Albany.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- ”Not one well. Ban fracking now.
The scenes have become familiar across New York State. Activists demanding that the state block any use of the controversial hydrofracking system for extracting natural gas from deep deposits of shale.
This protest centered in Syracuse, which has special protection from the state. Hydrofracking along the shores of Skaneateles Lake, the city's source of drinking water, is already banned.
“Syracuse, its residents and environment, have a specific protection against hydrofracking, as does New York City. We believe that all of the residents across New York State should have those same protections,” Syracuse Common Councilor Kathleen Joy said.
Just last fall, Governor Cuomo appeared close to allowing limited use of hydrofracking. Loud protests erupted and the state delayed any action. This latest round of demonstrations comes as new reports circulate that Cuomo may again be close to allowing a small scale test of hydrofracking in areas of the South Tier.
“Are they going to be testing to see if the dairy farms, if the tourist destinations that are all dependent on water, if they can survive while fracking goes on in the Southern Tier?” asked Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner.
The state decision has been delayed by a new health review of the hydrofracking process, but anti-fracking forces continue to claim that the state is doing its work secretly and not sharing the results.
“Governor Cuomo has said that this is going to be the most rigorous process, based on all the facts and all the science. And if we haven't seen the health review, we haven't seen a comprehensive health impact assessment, we haven't seen a socio-economic impact assessment on the impact on the economies of New York, we cannot move forward in New York,” said Renee Vogelsang, Frack Action Organizing Director.
The protests come as the state also sees the economic impact drilling could have in terms of job creation. The Cuomo administration is trying to find a balance, a balance these demonstrators say does not exist.
“We're asking there not be one well drilled. We need to protect the water for everybody. Keep Mother Earth clean,” said Jeanne Shenandoah of the Onondaga Indian Nation.
”For our sons, for our daughters, please don't pollute our waters.
After missing one deadline last fall, the state Department of Environmental Conservation now set a deadline of February 27th for issuing new rules on hydrofracking. However, on Monday, the state health commissioner said he would need a few more weeks to complete the Public Health Review.