Clinton Hill resident Alex Miller made the trek to Albany to take part in the New Yorkers Against Fracking New York Crossroads Rally in Albany this past Monday, June 17. His experience at the rally, held on the East Capitol Lawn, was particularly unique because he participated in the rally as an intern with DUMBO-based Food & Water Watch, one of 150 New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition members. The internship experience allowed him to gain an look at the amount of effort and time it takes to organize a rally of this scale, as well as hear what hydrofracking opponents have to say. Here’s his dispatch from the political rally.
For those unfamiliar with the term hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking or just fracking, is a method of drilling for natural gas that blasts water, sand and a mixture of chemicals into the earth. The process has been utilized by the natural gas industry for decades, but recent technological advancements have made the process even riskier than in the past.
This week around 2,500 individuals attended the rally, representing communities from across New York State, to show Governor Andrew Cuomo that there is strong statewide support for a ban on fracking.
There were numerous speakers that inspired me. Jim Dean, founder of Democracy for America and a member of New Yorkers Against Fracking, and brother of former Vermont governor Howard Dean, enlivened the crowd by tying the event to his brother’s staunch objections to hydrofracking. The afternoon was given a personal touch by an individual who spoke about his experience driving a water truck for a natural gas company that allegedly spread contaminated water across Pennsylvania.
The rally culminated in a march around the state capitol that filled the street with echoes of cheers and chants to compel Governor Cuomo to consider a hydrofracking ban.
At the end of the rally, I moseyed onto the bus back to New York City, exhausted but moved by what I had seen. What astounded me most was the diversity of the crowd present at the rally. I saw men, women, children, musicians, Occupy Wall Street members, hippies, tea-partyers, farmers, teachers and students, all united by their opposition to hydrofracking and all saying they want to protect the environment from the abuses of large corporations. Governor Cuomo should be obliged to make moves on a ban by the sheer number of protesters that have a stake. But just in case he doesn’t push a hydrofracking ban, I’ll be sure to attend every rally until we get legislation to protect our water.