Unsurprisingly, the divide among the two sides of the hydrofracking debate is evident even in their public relations strategies.
Early in the afternoon, a handful of groups—including New Yorkers Against Fracking, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and Citizen Action of New York—delivered seven boxes of petitions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office that were signed by New Yorkers in favor of a statewide hydrofracking ban. In all, more than 200,000 people signed the petitions, according to the groups.
“We’re here today to present over 200,000 petitions to the governor for a permanent statewide ban on hydrofracking,” said Renee Vogelsang, field organizing director for Frack Action. “We know that this cannot be done safely, and an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers want real, green energy and a ban on fracking now.”
(Various polls have found support for hydrofracking is essentially split in New York.)
At the same time, members of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York were meeting behind the scenes with lawmakers and members of Cuomo’s staff.
IOGA Executive Director Brad Gill said the group’s message was simple: It’s time to move forward. High-volume hydrofracking has been on hold in New York since 2008, when the state Department of Environmental Conservation launched a review of the technique. It will remain on hold until that review is completed.
“First and foremost, we want this regulatory process to continue full steam ahead and ideally unimpeded by legislative efforts,” Gill said. “It’s been going on four years now that the state has delayed, and at great cost to the state.”