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.”
Saturday, 25 October 2014 00:00
Village Square will feature the artistry of the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers this year as part of the annual Downtown Children’s Costume Parade on Saturday, Oct. 25, presented by the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District.
Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00
It was the second annual goal setting workshop at Glen Cove High School on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and both the board of education and the public came up with some sound ideas for the district. School Superintendent Maria Rianna presented a slide show of four main areas that are the focus of district goals.
“We began this process last year and these goals are representative of what the community wanted to see,” said Rianna.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00
The Town of Oyster Bay, in conjunction with the New York Rangers, will once again host a special Try Hockey for Free Program on Sunday morning, Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to noon at ithe Ice Skating Center located in Bethpage Community Park, 1000 Stewart Ave.
The event will allow youngsters a unique opportunity to sample the sport of ice hockey. Four morning sessions will be available. Session times are 8 to 9 a.m., 9 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00
On Thursday, Oct. 2, North Shore High School quarterback Michael Floccari shattered a school record and tied a Long Island record for the most touchdown passes in a game. This accomplishment ties him with E.J. Clark from Seaford High School (1977) and Joe Capobianco form Lawrence High school (2011).