Governor Cuomo says No to Fracking

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking in New York will go down as among his most significant acts, fast-forwarding the state to a clean energy future. His courage to buck the conventional wisdom that fracked gas is a needed bridge fuel is impressive.

When the Governor announced in August 2012 that fracking might happen in New York, Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, partnered with Fenton to promote Artists Against Fracking, which grew to more than 200 artists. Shortly after, Cuomo announced fracking would wait until a study of the environmental and health impacts could be completed.

As documented by Josh Fox’s Gasland movies on HBO, water supplies across the country have been contaminated by gas and chemicals migrating from fracked wells. For each fracture, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used. Most fracking chemicals are protected from disclosure, but scientists analyzing frack fluid routinely find volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene – which pose significant dangers to human health.

Fracked gas isn’t a bridge fuel: it’s a gangplank. Beyond water contamination, the contribution to the climate crisis can’t be overstated. Reports suggest fugitive emissions of methane are so substantial that they may completely outweigh any climate benefits of gas compared to coal. As Mark Jacobson of Stanford University has made clear through painstaking research, New York State can meet 100% of its energy needs with the sun, wind and water.

As an “island nation,” New York City is already bearing the brunt of climate change as rising seas turbo-charge storm surge. Now is the time to double-down on clean energy and reject the fuels of the past. Governor Cuomo just took a bold step in that direction.

Way to go Governor!