Dr. Shiva with Safe Water Movements activists for a frack Ban

Dr. Shiva with Safe Water Movements activists for a frack Ban

Climate justice and food justice activists rallied at the lecture of noted environmentalist and ecofeminist, Dr. Vandana Shiva, at Riverside Church today to clarify the responsibility of activists in the face of concerted pressure by pro-gas drilling industry and 'environmental' groups. Marcia Reynolds, whose family has been farming in upstate Otsego County for four generations pointed out the folly of movements that call for a moratorium on gas drilling, saying "I don’t want the drilling delayed while these companies keep buying up leases. I want it banned now".

Dr. Shiva’s talk occurred even as her home country India announced a plan for its first-ever offer of shale gas areas for exploration in 2012, with a focus on three basins—Cambay (in Gujarat), Assam-Arakan (in the North-East) and Gondwana (in central India).

About ten NYC and Westchester based activists with Safe Water Movement braved the 100 degree heat to hold signs and hand out fliers while the sunset over the Hudson River in front of the famed location of many presentations and speeches by progressives and radicals alike.

Jonathan Korinawitz, another farmer who is also a former upstate Democratic county legislator encouraged the crowds of activists to 'keep your eyes on the prize! Industry won't stop with or without a moratorium and it’s up to all of us to be clear about what we're demanding'.

In a recent open letter to the movement farmer Ken Jaffe from Meredith New York warned,
“Folks in NYC may be feeling secure about gas drilling, and lulled into silence about the threat. After all, NY State has bowed to pressure from the City and decided there will be no drilling for methane gas in the NYC Watershed. You should not feel secure, because gas drilling will poison your food shed.

You should understand that the industrialization and pollution of rural upstate New York will kill the production of organic and sustainable food in this region. “

A local economist also pointed out that gas prices have been low from a glut on drilling and slack demand due to the global recession. Those prices are expected to pick up and make leases more valuable and the concomitant power of industry more powerful as time passes. In addition, the leases will be less costly, again benefiting the companies.

Over 500 fliers were distributed calling for a state-wide ban on this destructive practice that has already decimated some parts of the country. Some people with fliers calling for a moratorium were so convinced by the ban position they put down their fliers and distributed the call for the ban. Suzanne who came up from Chelsea said, “You’re right, I don’t want a moratorium, I want a ban.”

Robert Jereski was encouraged by the reception which activists were given at the lecture, saying “People know this is bad and needs to be banned, they just need to be encouraged to explore their own conclusions, rather than having natural gas supporting sham green groups feeding them their corporate friendly strategies which will not protect our food and watersheds.”

The activists called on New Yorkers across the state to contact Andrew Cuomo, environmental groups that have yet to call for a ban and their own local elected officials.

Full text of the flier below:__________---------_______

Frack Drilling NY State-Wide Ban

Nothing Less Protects Our Food and Water Supplies

Demand leadership from our state government officials in response to calls for a statewide ban on horizontal hydrofracking of the Marcellus (and other) Shale formations in New York State. Frack gas drilling would destroy our food-sheds upstate and the water supplies of the entire state, not just New York City.

Some call for more inadequate regulations or a distracting moratorium. We say: Ban Frack Drilling!

Why is a moratorium not enough?

Some activists have been distracted by the call for a moratorium on this particularly energy- and water-intensive form of hydrocarbon extraction, arguing that a moratorium would buy us more time to organize. But we recognize that only a statewide ban can adequately respond to the threat to our water, air, land, and habitats across the state.

Why a statewide ban and not a moratorium?

When has a moratorium ever been followed by a ban? Never.
More time to organize? We are doing it now. Don’t give greedy industry more time to grease the pockets of crooked politicians. And don’t detract our movement from clearly demanding what we want: a statewide ban!

The current catastrophe in the gulf is a clear example of the impacts of a moratorium. A moratorium was placed on offshore gas drilling which was reversed based on the ostensible safety of these extraction methods.

Ask yourself who created the two moratorium bills now considered in NY?

First, well meaning people were distracted by an effort to withdraw the DGEIS (an environmental study) based on the false proposal that this would delay drilling even though it is clear that there is no legal ban on drilling which would replace it. Then they tried to protect only the NYC watershed, and divide us and pit us against each other.

Then our movement for a statewide ban was delayed by another costly- and time-consuming effort: to demand a moratorium on gas drilling until an EPA study was completed (about a year or 2).

We do not know who helped advance a scheme to introduce a moratorium bill. We don't know who lobbied Sen. Englebright and others to draft and introduce this legislation. We do know it has cost us much time and distracted from efforts that would otherwise be clearly demanding and building our movement for a statewide ban.

And we know that industry and some politicians (and some “green” groups) who support gas drilling will not stop until either they allow horizontal hydrofracking in New York State. . .. or we win!

Let's win. Call and demand they work for a statewide ban now! And your own elected officials too.

NYS Attorney General & Gov. candidate Andrew Cuomo: 1-800-771-7755 & NYAG.PressofficeATag.ny.gov
Senator Tom Duane (212) 633-8052
Riverkeeper and NRDC Senior Counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. : 914-478-4501 ext. 239

Get involved today, join smart creative people to protect our resources! www.safewatermovement.org