Environmental groups were joined by community organizers from New York’s Southern Tier at a rally on Wednesday to persuade Governor Andrew Cuomo to reject any demonstration project for shale gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Fracking is a process of injecting a mixture of water and chemicals in large amounts into a well to fracture shale and release natural gas. This procedure can lead to water contamination as well as other harmful environmental impacts.
A New York Times report released last week stated Governor Cuomo was considering allowing fracking in certain towns in the Southern Tier counties near Pennsylvania that are allegedly welcoming such. This report led a coalition of over 100 groups to issue a statement that said the Department of Environmental Conservation is still working on its environmental review and any decision on drilling should wait until health, environmental, and community impacts are assessed. Fracking has not been allowed in New York since the Department of Environmental Conservation began an environmental impact review of fracking in 2008.
Governor Cuomo has not confirmed or denied the New York Times report, nor has he commented on the rally held on Wednesday. Roger Downs of the Sierra Club-Atlantic Chapter stated that “[i]f true, the governor’s proposal to only drill in economically disadvantaged areas of New York is a cynical departure from Cuomo’s original promise to base his fracking decisions on science, not emotion.”