Anti-Hydrofracking Groups Join Forces To Push For Ban (UPDATED)

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A coalition of 50 groups against hydraulic fracturing for natural gas have joined forces to push for a statewide ban on the controversial technique.

New Yorkers Against Fracking was launched in an Albany news conference on Monday, backed financially by a portion of a $100,000 Heinz Award given to Ithaca College scholar-in-residence Sandra Steingraber. It consists of groups from a number of different backgrounds, including Frack Action, the New York State Breast Cancer Network and Cooperstown’s Brewery Ommegang.

The coalition is looking to ban the gas extraction process altogether. High-volume hydrofracking is on hold in New York as the state Department of Environmental Conservation reviews its proposed rules and guidelines for the technique; that review is expected to wrap up this year.

“The Cuomo administration has failed to consider many of the negative impacts of fracking, on our economy, our public health, and the environment.” said Eric Weltman, New York organizer for Washington-based Food and Water Watch. “But most fundamentally, fracking is inherently dangerous and beyond our capacity to safely regulate.”

Meanwhile, a poll released by Rasmussen on Monday found that 57 percent of Americans are in favor of hydrofracking, while 22 percent said they oppose the process. That’s in contrast to a number of polls specific to New York, which have found state residents are effectively split on it.

UPDATED: A spokesman for Clean Growth Now, a coalition of business and labor groups in favor of hydrofracking, sent along this statement: “Our continuing hope and expectation is that
the state will find a way to balance the interests of those who oppose
natural gas development with those who strongly support it.”

Here’s Weltman discussing the new anti-fracking coalition:

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