Action Alert: The Power of Activism

 The Power of Activism

The exceptional work we have done together, what lies ahead and what you can do

Prior to pursuing their hydraulic fracturing agenda in New York State, the gas industry virtually walked into 32 states and set-up shop with minimal if any opposition. And the results as we know have been devastating for public health, the environment and for the social fabric of communities. But when the gas industry “Goliath” got to New York, they found a small but strong band of “Davids” who stood up and told them “NOT SO FAST”.  Since then our numbers have grown exponentially and together we have waged an unprecedented 4-year campaign to expose the dangerous consequences of gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing. Most importantly we have won some major battles, slowed the process and raised the consciousness of a large part of the state’s citizenry.

Significant among our joint achievements was getting then Governor Paterson in 2009 to withdraw the immensely flawed first draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS). These are the regulations under which hydraulic fracturing would have been governed.

In September 2011, when the much improved, but still inadequate revised dSGEIS was issued, together we were responsible for turning out in mass at the hearings and submitting over 60,000 comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which they are now in the process of reviewing. It is significant that prior to the fracking issue, no DEC document ever received more than 1,000 comments.  Yet even with this incredible outpouring of public concern the Cuomo administration continues to indicate it’s intention to fast track the release of the final SGEIS even as early as this spring.

Together we have halted, at least temporarily, the start of drilling in the Delaware River Basin.  In November, 2011, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), was poised to issue the first permits to drill for gas, which would have had a devastating impact throughout the Delaware River corridor from the headwaters in the Catskill wilderness to Philadelphia and Wilmington. Unprepared and facing tremendous levels of activism, the DRBC backed down and indefinitely suspended their process in large part because the states of New Jersey and Delaware came to realize they have nothing to gain – and everything to lose by allowing the Delaware Basin to become a gas field.   The industry, however, is putting on a full court press so along with our partners we will continue to stay vigilant.

These are just some of our most notable successes. The increased activism of New Yorkers to ban unsafe gas drilling is particularly remarkable, because it is being done in the face of the gas industry’s incredibly well-funded and skillful propaganda campaign and ‘fueled’ by those who have the most to personally gain from the commencement of fracking.

As was reported in last week’s New York Times article, “Millions Spent in Albany to Fight to Drill”, the gas industry is spending exorbitant sums of money to push for gas drilling. This holds in stark contrast with the dramatically underfunded efforts dedicated to exposing the scientific consequences of fracking.

Despite being dramatically outspent, out publicized and in an environment where the gas industry is aggressively seeking to squelch the truth about the science regarding the results of fracking (see  former Garfield, Colorado county staffer Judy Jordan’s comments on the attempts to bury reports of oil and gas wells contaminating groundwater), we continue to make very important progress. There can be no doubt why!  When people hear our argument, they begin to understand what is at stake.  They recognize the implications that fracking development would have on their health, communities and environments, and they become active – signing petitions, making calls, going to hearings and speaking out.  In short the more people know the truth, the more people become committed to preventing the destruction that drilling will undoubtedly bring.

Subsequently, one of the most important actions we can all take is to continue to educate New Yorkers about the danger of fracking, so that at each future step of this ‘war’ our voice will be louder and more powerful. Now that we understand what can be done, we need to increasingly mobilize. Otherwise we are 12 months or less from wells being drilled and fracked in our backyards.

This is where you come in – please commit to sending this email to as many of your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors as possible.   Introduce them to our website where they can find out the many reasons why fracking should be banned in New York State, keep up with the latest news concerning this fight and learn about opportunities to take part on the front lines.

Join our “DON’T FRACK FRIDAYS” call campaign every Friday to let Governor Cuomo know that we don’t want fracking to ruin our health and our environment.  His office can be reached at (518) 474-8390.

And as always, please donate to Catskill Mountainkeeper so that we can continue to fight on your behalf.

or send a check to: Catskill Mountainkeeper, Box 381 Youngsville, NY 12791

Copyright 2012 Catskill Mountainkeeper, P.O. Box 381, Youngsville, New York, 12791. Catskill Mountainkeeper is a non-profit 501(c)(3) grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique and irreplaceable Catskill Region of New York State.

Gas Industry/Environmental Groups Alliance Fractures

Alliance between natural gas industry, environmental groups fracture
February 20, 2012 – The Washington Post
By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson

Just four years ago, shale gas king Aubrey K. McClendon told shareholders 
of Chesapeake Energy that “finally, we made some new friends this year.”

The chief executive sketched a vision of working hand in hand with “leading 
environmental organizations” on issues “where our interests might be 
aligned.” He said, “We believe this collaboration is unique in the industry 
and will benefit both Chesapeake and these environmental organizations for 
years to come.”

New friendships grew old, then cold. Environmental groups that once took 
money from McClendon — or considered doing so — to make a common cause 
against coal power, have stepped back as they weigh the environmental 
perils of extracting natural gas from shale, a business in which 
McClendon’s Chesapeake Energy is a leader…

Mountainkeeper Featured in LA Times Front Page Story on Fracking

Fracking debate divides New York landowners

As the state prepares to lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, many people debate the risks of leasing mineral rights to extraction companies.

Hydraulic fracturingA hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operation takes place on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa., where dairy farms once predominated. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / December 27, 2011)…
“Wes Gillingham, 52, a lifelong resident and farmer who works for Catskill Mountainkeeper, an environmental group, says that although relations have largely stayed civil, neighbors are angry with one another — and with him. “People I was friendly with are treating me as if I’m taking money out of their pocket,” he said. The antagonists’ competing narratives rarely intersect.”  Read the entire article here

Campaign Against Climate Science

Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Science
February 15, 2012 – New York Times
by Justin Gillis and Leslie Kaufman

Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars.

The documents, from a nonprofit organization in Chicago called the Heartland Institute, outline plans to promote a curriculum that would cast doubt on the scientific finding that fossil fuel emissions endanger the long-term welfare of the planet. “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective,” one document said.

While the documents offer a rare glimpse of the internal thinking motivating the campaign against climate science, defenders of science education were preparing for battle even before the leak. Efforts to undermine climate-science instruction are beginning to spread across the country, they said, and they fear a long fight similar to that over the teaching of evolution in public schools…..

The Power of Activism

The exceptional work we have done together, what lies ahead and what you can do

Prior to pursuing their hydraulic fracturing agenda in New York State, the gas industry virtually “walked into” 32 states and set-up shop with minimal if any opposition. And the results as we know have been devastating for public health, the environment and for the social fabric of communities. But when the gas industry “Goliath” got to New York, they found a small but strong band of “Davids” who stood up and told them “NOT SO FAST”.  Since then our numbers have grown exponentially and together we have waged an unprecedented 4-year campaign to expose the dangerous consequences of gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing. Most importantly we have won some major battles, slowed the process and raised the consciousness of a large part of the state’s citizenry.

Significant among our joint achievements was getting then Governor Paterson in 2009 to withdraw the immensely flawed first draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS). These are the regulations under which hydraulic fracturing would have been governed.

In September 2011, when the much improved, but still inadequate revised dSGEIS was issued, together we were responsible for turning out in mass at the hearings and submitting over 60,000 comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which they are now in the process of reviewing. It is significant that prior to the fracking issue, no DEC document ever received more than 1,000 comments.  Yet even with this incredible outpouring of public concern the Cuomo administration continues to indicate it’s intention to fast track the release of the final SGEIS even as early as this spring.  Click here to read the entire action alert

 

Industry Influence Squelches Science of Gas Drilling Impacts

A case study in how industry influence squelches the science of gas drilling impacts
February 9, 2012, Earthworks Blog
By Judy Jordan

Garfield County Oil and Gas Boom 2000-2009
In 2007, Garfield County was the most heavily drilled county in Colorado and was one of the most heavily drilled areas in the entire Rocky Mountain region.  With some 2000 wells permitted per year, by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the area was a flurry of heavy trucks, dust, and conflict.

In addition to the usual beefs between surface owners and industry, which are proliferating throughout the shale plays today, Garfield County had seen one of the country’s first publicized cases of water contamination resulting from oil and gas activities….

Natural Gas and the News

Most messages on fracking ‘brought to you by our sponsors’ 
Extra!, FAIR – Fairness & Accuracy in Reportiing, February 2012
By Miranda Spencer

When it comes to natural gas extraction via “fracking,” TV journalism has some serious competition: energy industry commercials.

Like ads for political candidates that run concurrently with broadcast news coverage of the presidential race, ads promoting natural gas (and other fossil fuels) have long been running in concert with news segments about the topic, most recently touting the prospect of a “boom” made possible by the controversial extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing of the shale sprawling beneath more than 30 U.S. states.

During the past three years, Extra! found, there has been exponentially more propaganda for the wonders of natural gas on our screens each night than theoretically objective news segments about natural-gas extraction…