Anti-Frackers to Protest Cuomo’s ‘Yogurt Summit’

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It’s been at least a month since we’ve seen hydrofracking protestors here at the Capitol, though we saw plenty of them over the course of the Legislature’s six-month 2010 session.

It seems that will change tomorrow. A handful of anti-hydrofracking groups are planning on using the New York State Yogurt Summit as a way to highlight the downsides of natural-gas drilling, particularly when it comes to agriculture. They point to a pair of studies, including a Pennsylvania State University report that tied drilling to a drop in Pennsylvania’s dairy production, though “the exact reasons for the decline are unclear.”

Groups including New Yorkers Against Fracking, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NYPIRG and Frack Action will be in attendance, according to a news release, calling on Cuomo to “save our yogurt, ban fracking.” Food and Water Watch, meanwhile, has launched an online, yogurt-specific anti-fracking letter that is being delivered to the governor’s office.

The Yogurt Summit will be held tomorrow in a theater near the Capitol, and it is expected to focus somewhat on the state’s regulations for dairy regulations.

While some farmers are certainly wary of hydrofracking, others welcome it as a way to keep their farms (many with large property-tax tags) afloat. Local chapters of the New York Farm Bureau, for example, have actively advocated for allowing hydrofracking in New York.

Meanwhile, several national environmental groups are paying attention to what New York will do in regards to high-volume hydrofracking. A state Department of Environmental Conservation’s report on the technique is expected to be completed this year, which theoretically would allow it to issue permits for the first time.

About a dozen national groups signed on to a letter to Cuomo today, urging him to not allow fracking “unless and until the impacts to New Yorkers’ health, environment and economy have been comprehensively and properly addressed.”

That letter, signed by groups such as the national Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, can be read here.

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5 Comments

  1. Lorraine Lewandrowski on

    Nice to see anti-fracking groups take an interest in the working countryside of NY. However, I must note that NYPIRG led the charge for cheap milk in NY in the late 1990’s. As farmers worked to create the Northeast Dairy Compact in 1998, NYPIRG and NYC consumer groups hired lawyers, PR people, and pushed the media to declare the collective bargaining effort for farmers to be “anti-consumer”. I believe professional PR groups coined the term “Milk Tax On the Poor” at that time. The NYTimes came out strongly against this mechanism that farmers wanted to utilize to stabilize milk prices. The farmers efforts were ultimately broken up.
    Today, we have 3,000,000 acres of abandoned farms, barns falling down everywhere one turns and farmers desperately seeking anything that will help them to pay the mortgages and NY’s land taxes. NYPIRG, I do not trust you at all.

  2. Lorraine Lewandrowski on

    Google “Have a cow” “northeast dairy compact” to get the full position on NYPIRG’s efforts to smash the dairy farmers. Carloads of dairy farmers drove into Manhattan to explain why price volatility was swinging milk prices back and forth, causing more and more small farmers to lose their lands. With no countervailing power against the largest of processors, NYPIRG was part of inadvertently setting the stage for a decade and beyond of cheap milk. Take a look at the milk price map to see what is happening, and continues on….NY farmers have the cheapest pay price in the northeast. We get $16.90 for a 100 pounds of whole milk. New England farmers get $18.03, just over the border. Pennsylvania farmers get $17.33 and $17.48 for every hundreds pounds of milk. At times, the difference is even more stunning. NY farmers really could have used a means to help with the price volatility, but NYC consumer groups were LIVID. The NYC school system claim it would have cost them millions more per year.

  3. Lorraine Lewandrowski on

    In 2009, when the price of milk in NY had crashed to some $10 for a hundred pounds of milk (HALF of what it costs to produce it)…I personally approached some of NY’s environmental groups to see if they could say something, anything. All except Otsego 2000 out of Cooperstown said that milk prices were “not their thing”. Upstate, we saw farmer suicides, farm losses, farmers trying to stay afloat by selling pieces of land, timbering woodlots, selling cows, machinery, taking on second jobs, maxing out their credit cards. We have seen two violent dairy farmer suicides in my area in the past few years, including one a few weeks ago where a stressed out dairy farmer led all 300 cows to safety, then burned down his barns and house and killed himself. For environmental groups to NOW say that they care about the farms, when so many have been lost and NY’s working countryside is in shambles (go drive to the North Country where it looks like Deliverance!) seems to me to be too little, too late. Please prove me wrong, but I wonder if some of the groups are mostly concerned about their watersheds, NOT the farmers themselves. Kindly do not use us for photo shoots until you actually show up at some dairy hearings and voice support for the farmers to make a living with a decent and fair price for the milk that we work so hard to produce.

  4. Farmers want natural gas development to save their farms. The Farm Bureau favors it. These yogurt plants run on natural gas. The reason they are staying in NY or considering expansioin here is because of the cheap power resulting from natural gas production. Hopefully the folks at DEC are able to see through the junk-science clutter. The garbage they spew is so easily refuted, yet the media really hasn’t caught on. It’s much more interesting to photograph a hippie with a sign than a real scientist with a clue.