In a historic decision in December 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he will ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in low permeable shale in New York State. This is a huge win for New Yorkers, but the fight is far from over.
So what’s next?
The ban still has to be made “official,” and faces potential lawsuits from gas and oil companies, as well as landowners who have sold leases to gas companies.
The state must fulfill its obligations under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), which requires releasing the final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), and 10 days after that issuing a subsequent findings statement. State authorities have pledged that the latter will recommend the prohibition of high volume fracking.
Mountainkeeper and our coalition partners will work with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ensure that the findings are thorough, and do in fact provide strong and meaningful protection from fracking for the people, communities, and ecosystems of our state.
At the same time, the build out of a fossil fuel infrastructure and the transportation of highly dangerous fuels on New York’s rail, road, and waterways continues to threaten our health and safety. It also enables fracking in Pennsylvania and other states, and perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuels. Given New York’s leading role in the fracking opposition movement nationwide, we cannot let the gas industry push for new markets for fracked oil and gas here and throughout New England.
Mountainkeeper and our partners are going to stay actively engaged on all of these fronts to ensure that New York’s future is frack-free, and to keep you posted about opportunities for action.
THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP RIGHT NOW:
1) Comment on the proposed Constitution pipeline, which runs north from Pennsylvania through the western Catskills of New York, and will degrade unique ecosystems, threaten vital watersheds, and pose serious health risks to communities along its path. For info about the pipeline and how to submit your comments to the DEC by the February 27 deadline, visit www.stopthepipeline.org.
2) Attend a DEC public hearing on air permits for the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. This would include construction of a major Northeast pipeline through Rockland and Westchester counties and alongside Indian Point Nuclear Facility, and a major expansion of metering and compressor stations. Public hearings will be held Wednesday, January 21 at 6 p.m. at Henry H. Wells Middle School Auditorium (570 Route 312, Brewster, NY) and Thursday, January 22 at 6 p.m. at Stony Point Community Center (5 Clubhouse Lane, Stony Point, NY). Visit www.SAPE2016.org for more information about how to submit your comments by the February 27 deadline.
3) Attend the State of the State rally and "We Banned Fracking Celebration" in Albany, NY on January 21. The rally will take place from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Concourse Hallways, outside the entrance to the Convention Center at Empire Plaza. It's an important opportunity to let Governor Cuomo and state legislators know that while we support the announcement of the ban, we remain concerned about the risks to New York from other forms of fossil fuel extraction and transportation in our state, and want our elected officials to champion responsible energy policies that favor the shift to clean renewable alternatives. For more info about the rally, and to RSVP and find a bus near you, visit our webpage.
Following the rally will be the “We Banned Fracking Celebration!” from 1-4 pm at the Hilton Albany, at 40 Lodge St, just a block away from the Capitol. Come enjoy food, drink, special guest speakers and music. For more information about the celebration, click here.
We’re on the brink of a major victory in the fight to end our destructive and unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels. Now is no time to let up. Together, let's keep fighting for a green, healthy, sustainable, and prosperous future for New York, and all New Yorkers.
Ramsay and the Mountainkeeper Team