Amy Peters of Glen Cove and Sea Cliff resident John Burke were among hundreds of vocal locals who took the fight against fracking to Albany last week, riding to the state capitol in buses to show their support for a ban at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.
Long Islanders were joined by concerned citizens from across the state, who stood behind ropes before the entrance to the speech shouting, chanting and pumping “Ban Fracking” and “Save Our Water” signs. Attendees put the crowd at around 2,500; a separate protest, against gun restrictions, boasted about 20, they said. They did not see Gov. Cuomo himself, but some legislators, such as Charles Lavine, did come out to speak with the public.
For Peters, the looming threat of hydrofracking—a process for extracting natural gas from rock—in New York State brings “a strong sense of dread.” As a member of the Sustainable Sea Cliff Food Co-operative, she deals directly with the challenge of sourcing healthy fresh food. The co-op, which buys as much as it can from Long Island farmers before reaching out to farms north and west of the metro area, has already stopped sourcing from Pennsylvania, where fracking has been widespread.
“If fracking comes to New York, we’ll have a hard time purchasing locally,” she said.
As Julie Sullivan of Long Island’s Food and Water Watch describes it, “fracking”—formally known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing—is a dangerous method of drilling outward from deep wells into underground shale for gas, threatening drinking water, health, communities and the environment. Fracking in New York would involve injecting billions of gallons of fresh water, hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals and sand underground. Documented risks include earthquakes, contaminated groundwater, waste-water that contains radioactive elements, and air pollution.
“New York shale represents a nominal amount of the nation’s gas reserves. It’s simply not worth the known risks given what’s at stake in New York; not the least of which are the health risks to our children and families ranging from asthma to cancer,” said Sullivan.
“There are alternatives to gas but there are no alternatives to plentiful clean water.”
The impact on farm produce makes fracking a major concern for chefs and others in the food industry, as well as consumers. Chefs for the Marcellus, Slow Food and iEat Green were among the LI groups at the rally, which included tables showcasing (and selling) jellies, jams and baked goods from small producers. Bhavani Jaroff, a natural foods chef and activist who has taught at Old Westbury’s Wheatley School and The Waldorf School in Garden City, was among the “foodies” who made the trip.
Anti-frackers recognize the challenge to politicians under pressure from commercial interests. New York has a moratorium on fracking, but not an outright ban; the trip was meant to stiffen the governor’s resolve.
“Cuomo’s been keeping fracking at arm’s length with the moratorium and we appreciate that, but feel at times it’s for political reasons,” said Peters.
“We understand it’s hard for him to be strong on fracking politically because of jobs, energy needs and the economy,” she added, “but the jobs will be few and transient.” Agriculture is a huge part of NYS economy.
“If we lose the water, we’ll lose the farms,” said Sea Cliff’s Burke, who leads Stop the Port Ambrose LNG Export. “Once the watershed is contaminated, it can’t be made nontoxic.”
More than a dozen Long Island organizations, including LI Sierra Club, North Shore Audubon Society and Citizens Campaign for the Environment, sent members to the rally to speak for those who could not be there.
“I get a lot of people saying ‘thank you for going and representing us,’” says Amy Peters, about the reaction she has gotten in Glen Cove. “It’s not easy to take a day off to get on the bus, so I’m happy to represent.”
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
Local residents were out in full force at Thursday night’s zoning board meeting at Glen Cove City Hall in opposition of a new 7-11 convenience store that is set to be built at the corner of 4th Street and Cedar Swamp Road. According to Stuart Grossman, chairman of the Zoning Board, the meeting was officially supposed to be focused on sign variances for the new store, but residents wanted to make sure their voices were heard.
New York State Assemblyman and Frost Pond Road resident Michael Montesano said that he hopes the board will deny the application for the new 7-11 because of the traffic impact and light pollution the new store will create.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, many in costume, a new addition to the popular event. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date, Daphne, a 3-month-old long-haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.
“This is a splendid event to celebrate Coe Hall and Planting Fields; everything looks so wonderful in the summer,” said Joyce. “The gardens are glorious and we have a new exhibition to celebrate and it’s just so lovely to be out here in these gardens.”
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) is holding its 34th Annual R. Brinkley Smithers Golf Invitational, a charity tournament, on Monday, Sept. 22, at The Creek and Piping Rock Clubs in Locust Valley.
This year, LICADD will have Kristin Thorne, Emmy Award Winning WABC-TV news reporter and personality joining them as Emcee and Auctioneer. The live auction boasts playing opportunities at some of the country’s top golf courses, along with dozens of silent auction and raffle prizes to please the most discriminating of tastes.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
All athletes interested in putting their bodies to the ultimate test can hop on over to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay, which will once again be the site of Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.
The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at Roosevelt Park.