Fracking opponents made their voices heard loud and clear yesterday at a hearing about New York State’s proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing. Hosted at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, the hearing was held in order to solicit public comment about fracking, a controversial process that forces millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the ground to break up rock and extract natural gas. It was a full house, and opponents of fracking came out in full force, among them were a few celebrities, State Senator Tony Avella, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Fracking foes stressed the point that New York City’s water supply, which comes from reservoirs upstate, would not be protected if the proposed rules are put forth. “There is no possible regulation strong enough that you could come up with to prevent that one accident,” State Senator Tony Avella, according to Bloomberg News. “New York state should never consider this process.” Avella is a strong opponent of hydraulic fracturing and has introduced a bill to prohibit fracking.
Celebrities Debra Winger, Mark Ruffalo, Linus Roache (who plays an assistant district attorney in Law & Order: SVU), and Mattthew Fox, the director of Gasland, were all in attendance to support the ban of fracking and called for more in-depth health studies to be completed. Recently, it came to light that the proposed rules and their supporting studies do not taken any public health risks into consideration.
Currently, New York State has a moratorium on fracking while the Department of Environmental Conservation studies the new proposed rules. Opponents are first and foremost concerned with the safety of our drinking water and the destruction of the natural environment, while advocates continue to tout numbers of job creation and tax revenue.
The period for public comment on the proposed fracking rules was originally supposed to end on December 12, but officials have extended the deadline to January 11, 2012.
For more details on the hearing and individual’s sentiments, head to Bloomberg News.
images of a July 2011 fracking protest © Adrian Kinloch via Flickr Creative Commons