Another day, another hydrofracking rally in Albany today. But this one’s got some star power.
Actor Mark Ruffalo and Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo will host a concert this evening against hydrofracking, featuring the likes of upstate New York native Natalie Merchant, Citizen Cope and Medeski Martin & Wood.
It will be preceded by a rally late this afternoon in a park adjoining the state Capitol, as well as a private pre-concert reception with Ruffalo and others.
The concert and reception are a fundraiser for New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of hydrofracking critics launched earlier this year to push for a ban on the technique. The groups have been relentlessly promoting it, handing out fliers at local events and taking to social media. So far, it seems to be working—only two tickets remained to the concert as of this morning, according to The Egg, the performing arts center where it will take place. (The theater seats 982.)
Celebrities’ involvement in the hydrofracking battle isn’t new. Ruffalo—a Sullivan County resident who plays the Hulk in The Avengers—has appeared at several rallies and meetings in Albany, Binghamton and beyond, while actor Alec Baldwin is hosting a screening of “Gasland” early next month in Syracuse.
The natural-gas industry has pushed back against the actors’ campaigns. A postcard handed out by the Independent Oil & Gas Association last month featured a picture of Ruffalo and read: “In real life, reading from a script doesn’t make you a scientist or geologist.”
Standard disclaimer: High-volume hydrofracking for natural gas is on hold in New York as the state Department of Environmental Conservation finalizes its recommendations for issuing permits. The technique involves large volumes of water, sand and chemicals injected into underground shale formations—such as the Marcellus Shale—to unlock natural gas.