Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon Protest Fracking in Albany Visit (Updated w/ video)

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Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon visited the state Capitol on Friday, marking an effort by fracking opponents to submit what they said was more than 200,000 comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation on its proposed hydrofracking rules.

Comments on the regulations are being accepted until 5 p.m.

Ono and Lennon, the wife and son of late Beatle John Lennon, respectively, traveled to Albany as part of their Artists Against Fracking initiative, which has targeted Gov. Andrew Cuomo with billboards and newspaper advertisements as his administration weighs whether to allow shale-gas drilling in upstate New York.

“We formally request a meeting with Governor Cuomo,” Sean Lennon said as he delivered a letter to Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi. “We’d really like to talk to him about it. We know he’s already met with the gas industry so we think it’s time that he meet with the citizens of New York who are very concerned about our great state.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation proposed its latest set of hydrofracking regulations in late November and a 30-day comment period opened up in mid-December. The rules have to be finalized by Feb. 27 or they expire.

But opponents of fracking have protested the DEC’s decision to issue the regulations before a health review by the Department of Health and three outside consultants was completed or released to the public.

Ono, who with John Lennon purchased a home in the Catskills at the tip of the Marcellus Shale region, praised Cuomo for his announcement in Wednesday’s State of the State that New York would seek to lower its limits on carbon emissions. But she had harsh words for Cuomo on fracking, which proponents say would spur the economy but critics say causes environmental harm.

“Fracking kills,” Ono said as she was surrounded with dozens of boxes filled with formal comments. “And it doesn’t just kills us. It kills the land, nature and eventually the whole world and our dear planet, which we think is a beautiful one.”

The gas industry and supporters of fracking have pushed back against various celebrities who have taken up the anti-fracking cause, including actor Mark Ruffalo, questioning what value and expertise they bring to the debate.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, a pro-fracking group, submitted their comments on Thursday and urged the DEC to move expeditiously in ending its 4 1/2-year review of shale-gas drilling.

The landowners’ comments have the “express purpose of presenting our unified comments while ensuring that we do not further delay the completion” of the review process, the group wrote.

“The same cannot be said for many anti-gas organizations that will submit comments merely to obstruct the process, increase the DEC’s burden and attempt to stop the development of natural gas in New York by a delay to kill strategy,” the group wrote.

(Photo by Haley Viccaro / Gannett)

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15 Comments

  1. The best thing Yoko Ono and her son can do for the environment is to melt all of their “artistic” output into one big plastic turd and bury it in Bill Maher’s prostate.

  2. I once had a dream for a good paying Fracking job. and my dream was crushed by the Artist and song writers.

    They did not understand that Fracking was Good

    They did not understand at aLLLLL

    They just drank the anti Fracking Kool- Aid, along with all the other drugs they TOOKKKKKK

    So now I am Jobless and collecting welfare and have no money to buy songs or art or go to the movies.

    So please tell the Artists and song writers to

    DROP DEAD

    Before there was the “Oracle of Delphi” there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

    VJ Machiavelli
    http://www.VJMachiavelli.blogspot.com
    Power to the People who “VOTE”

  3. The Times Corruption on

    Only two posts. You corrupt little papper. I can’t wait until you go bankdrupt. Any moron for fracking shows that survival of the fitest is obviously not in play. Stupid is as stupid does, but stupid is not really stupid, it is unconcious greed that will deny the air it breaths in order to have it’s almighty dollar. And so little alien children that is how the earth was destoryed by the humans. How could they have done this. The geat lie was economy, economy, economy. Then one day the last single cell organisim died on the planet and it went silent except for the winds. “A Silent Spring”. I curse you and those that would remove this comment to hell where you belong. Hell is real. Keep selling out you garbage.

  4. Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon are our neighbors in New York. The anti-fracking movement in New York is driven by the grassroots and has been for more than 4 years. It is driven by hundreds of small groups started in living rooms and around kitchen tables in the evenings by residents who are terrified of what fracking will do to the health of their families, their communities, the environment, as well as local economies. Those concerns are based on a wealth of scientific data and evidence that show fracking is an inherently dangerous process that cannot be done safely.

    We greatly appreciate Yoko and Sean joining with us, and also helping to amplify the voices of those residents and our scientists. We’ve long had enough of the gas industry burying New York State and the country in misinformation campaigns and propaganda. We have had enough of out-of-state oil and gas companies pouring money into our elections and an army of lobbyists who fight to silence the truth on a daily basis. Over 200,000 comments in 30 days over our major national and religious holidays is an historic achievement and a very clear message: fracking cannot be done safely, and New Yorkers will not accept it.

  5. It may be unfortunate that the media played up the involvment of two celebrities in the effort, but the real story is that thousands of people wrote 200,000 comments not only on the specific flaws in the regulations but also general comments on the lack of transparency in the process. DEC has clearly made the process backwards by closing the regulation comment period before letting the public even see the results of the work on health impacts and the revised SGEIS as a whole.

    If DEC goes ahead and approves these regulations which were written before the health impact study was complete and without giving the public time to see the SGEIS including the responses to the publics tousands of comments on it, then the process is a sham. If DEC moves ahead in this manner, I hope that reputable environmental groups will sue to stop the process and I will support an effort to do just that. If that means that the regulation procedure has to be restarted and include another public comment period and more hearings, so be it. The blame will be placed on DEC for it improper process.

  6. Thanks to Yoko and Sean for asking Cuomo to speak with them. How unfortunate that he finds lots of time to listen to the gas industry but no time to listen to the citizens of NYS.

    The 200,000 comments are intelligent statements about a drilling process that has a history of contaminating water, wasting large amounts of fresh water, poisoning the atmosphere with greenhouse gas methane and radioactive radon, decimating land, decreasing land value and exacerbating climate change and its erratic dangerous weather patterns.

    There is not one scientific citation in the prematurely released regulations. They are supposed to be based on the SGEIS, for which the public has no access. The DEC has botched its job and the citizens concerned with the future are calling for responsibility and care in this decision.

  7. Thank you Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon for your strong support of the anti-fracking movement in New York State. More and more of us are learning the truth about natural gas drilling and the irreversible destruction it will bring to our water, our air, our soil, our health, our environment, and our communities. More and more of us are learning to debunk the false claims of the gas industry’s massive PR campaign. More and more of us are learning to keep a watchful eye on the DEC’s outstandingly bad practices.

    As evidenced by the 200,000+ comments submitted last month to the DEC regulations, the anti-fracking movement has experienced incredible growth in the last year. Rapidly increasing numbers of farmers, teachers, health workers, legislators, faith leaders, business people, chefs, mothers and fathers across the state are uniting to form a powerful force in the urgent campaign to ban fracking in New York State.

  8. John Armstrong, Hugh Kimball, Marianne, and Amanda all coincidentally like to use the number 200,000. OUTED!

  9. While Ono and Lennon received press, it is worthy to note the banner she is standing behind – New Yorkers Against Fracking. This broad coalition of grassroots groups (including Artists Against Fracking) and thousands of active citizens is working, researching, educating, sharing information every single day!

    To suggest that the 200,000 plus comments was a “tactic for obstruction” is absurd. The purpose of a public comment period is to allow every citizen the right to express their voice and their concerns. The fact that our broad coalition is effective in engaging people all across NY State is quite an accomplishment – especially taking into account the timing of this comment period being in the holiday season.

    Without New Yorkers Against Fracking leading the way, millions of NY citizens would still be scratching their head over the terminology, policies and politics that HVHF proposes for our state. The mere fact that anti-fracking groups are growing so rapidly is a testament to what happens when all information is presented widely. Gone are the days of living room quiet contracts and lies that can divide communities and destroy a region’s true wealth before they knew what was really at stake.

  10. Oobla Dee, The number 200,000 is in the first paragraph of the article. All you have outed is the fact that we can all read.

  11. I’m not sure why Mr. Campbell chose to focus only on Ono, Lennon, and other artists against fracking. They were in Albany as part of New Yorkers Against Fracking, whose many member organizations throughout the state collected comments on the proposed regulations. Many of these comments were submitted after considerable scientific research, which is cited within the comments. Interestingly, the draft regulations themselves are required by law to cite the scientific studies underlying them, yet they fail to do so. Part of the reason that the number of comments is so high is due to the DEC’s own comment process, which calls on the commenter to list the particular section on which the comment is based. I personally submitted about 45 comments, so that I could clearly designate which section I was addressing in each one.

  12. Those of us who can-and do-read the scientific data on hydrofracking understnd the many and varied dangers associated with this practice. The gas industry is great at issuing all kinds of falsehoods and propaganda about the so called ‘benefits’ of gas drilling, but there is a wealth of data and statistics contradicting everything the industry says. Shale gas drilling is NOT “clean energy.” It is directly linked to methane leaks and emissions; methane is 33 times as much a contributor to global warming as CO2. Hydrofracking involves thousands of trucks driving around drilling areas, bringing supplies and carrying away the wastewater – and don’t even get me started on the wastewater and brine that are formed as a result of fracking- those substances are hazardous to anything and everything within miles. Hydrofracking produces radioactive materials, and uses thousands of gallons of clean water, mixed with many dangerous chemicals, including known carcinogens, all of which can and do leach into the groundwater and into wells, ponds, streams, and aquifers. If fracking is so safe, then why won’t the gas industry release the list of all the chemicalls in the fracking fluid? And if it’s so safe, let the gas industry employees and representatives live next door to their wells! Many thousands of New Yorkers, from all walks of life, have spoken, and we have made it abundantly clear to Governor Cuomo; we do NOT want hydrofracking in New York State!!!