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Anti-Fracking Protestors to Appeal Directly to President Obama during Presidential Visit to Shale Country

Kate Sinding

Posted August 22, 2013

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President Obama’s welcome on his trip to Pennsylvania and New York this week may not be as warm as he’d hoped. Anti-fracking citizens in both states, dismayed at the President’s decision to embrace natural gas development as a major energy priority, plan to protest his visit to shale country. They join a growing number of Americans living in the gas industry’s path with real and substantial concerns about what the President’s policies might mean for their future.

Although Americans concerned about climate change have rightfully applauded the President’s newly announced climate initiatives, especially his decision to set carbon standards for power plants, his strong endorsement of expanded domestic natural gas development has concerned some environmentalists and local citizens (as well as the editorial board of the Albany Times Union). This is particularly so in the face of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent withdrawal from three high-profile, potentially precedential, investigations related to alleged drinking water contamination from fracking, which raises red flags about the seriousness with which the Administration is taking its on-going study of fracking’s risks. Determined to ensure the President understands these concerns, activists across Pennsylvania and New York plan to make their voices heard at each stop along the President’s journey.

Several grassroots environmental groups are involved, with New Yorkers Against Fracking organizing the New York protests. Isaac Silberman-Gorn, an activist with Citizen Action and a member of New Yorkers Against Fracking, pledged: “we will chase him around the state.” “He’s promised all of these great things for climate change,” says Silberman-Gorn, “but he’s pushing a plan that is really at odds with that.” A spokesperson for New Yorkers Against Fracking, John Armstrong, hoped to “send a strong message to him and to all politicians that our health, environment and clean water are not for sale to the oil and gas industry and political influence.” Meanwhile, Food and Water Watch and Protecting Our Water are planning similar protests across the border in Pennsylvania.

The President’s trip will also highlight the continuing pressure from Governor Cuomo’s base to protect the state from fracking’s risks. The Governor reportedly decided not to join the President on his bus tour through hotbeds of anti-fracking sentiment including Binghamton and Syracuse, but will meet with the President in Buffalo. On Monday, in response to press inquiries, Governor Cuomo said he was no closer to reaching a decision on fracking, standing by his promise to hold his decision until Health Commission Nirav Shah’s health review is complete. We applaud the Governor’s continuing commitment to letting the science rule the day, and trust that his recent public statements indicate he will not allow the President’s visit to shake that resolve.

Both the Governor and the President should heed the messages being given this week. The people of Pennsylvania who are already living with fracking, and the people of New York who could face fracking in the future, deserve nothing less.

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scott AlfAug 27 2013 12:13 PM

Fracking has an option. Anaerobic digesters, and while methane sources are often limited by the perspective of information being distributed a greater understanding needs to be obtained. Sewage treatment and foodwaste to enegy modeling is being neglected. Lawn clippings could be replacing fracking and the randow decentralized methane loss causing atmospheric distruction.
NRDC needs to see methane,as CNG,and Biogas as one.If a self production model is made then the conservation is put in the producers hand and under their desire to save $.
Random Methane is released by fracking causing atmospheric results. Produced methane is maintained and conserved.
I wish I could have found out more from NRDC about biogas then a limited perspective.
Options to fracking need to be explored.
Germany is having Biogas conferences etc and here in the US we have industrial applications making biogas alernatives into reality while the individual(voter) is not seeing the whole process/picture and only the researcher finds results
Build american intelligence and industry, as an option to fracking while
doesn't portray anaerobic digesters as a source of CNG.
I buy CNG .CNG is methane some of which I buyy from my city landfill using human manure to digest it for methane(CNG when I buy it ).

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