Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, took his campaign today to communities in the Southern Tier. Hawkins is calling for New York to invest in a transition to 100% clean energy by 2030, which would create 4.5 million new jobs whilelowerng electric rate by 50% compared to fossil fuels.
Hawkins is on an anti-fracking truth-telling barnstorming tour after visiting the gasfields of Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday October 15, Hawkins stopped to meet with media and fracktivists in Cooperstown, Oneonta and Ithaca to share his impressions of the impacts of hydrofracking and to reiterate his support for banning fracking on his first day as Governor. Hawkins criticized the Cuomo administration for interfering with a US Geological Survey study on the dangers posed by fracking.
"It is abundantly clear that hydrofacking must be banned in the state of New York. Andrew Cuomo has been sitting on the fence for too long. He is letting politics dictate his decision-making, not science. He cannot be trusted to ban fracking but I will," said Hawkins.
"While Cuomo has held off on giving the green light to drilling natural gas, his administration has pushed forward the construction of the infrastructure that supports fracking," Hawkins continued. "He has permitted fracking cuttings and fluids from Pennsylvania to be disposed of in New York, something even pro-fracking Astorino signed a law to prohibit in his own Westchester County.
"I met with homeowners who have seen their land and property values destroyed. The people I met with have to buy and import water because their well water is no longer potable. And drilling continues in the area, despite a court order that Cabot Oil must stop their operations there. This is an area that was at one time calm and peaceful, and now it's completely industrialized and virtually destroyed," said Hawkins.
Hawkins pointed to a study Cornell University's Tony Ingraffea published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that analyzed records in Pennsylvania to evaluate the problem of methane migration into wells. Infgrafea's team looked at more than 75,000 state inspections of more than 41,000 oil and gas wells in PA. They found widespread evidence of leaky wells and predicted that over 40 percent of shale gas wells will leak into groundwater or the atmosphere over time.
"Rather than invest resources in developing 19th century fuels and fossil fuel infrastructure, we need to invest in renewable energy. Climate change is a planetary emergency – renewable energy is a solution to the climate crisis and to the jobs crisis. Drilling for gas and constructing fossil fuel infrastructure is a diversion that locks us into more dependence on climate-destroying energy sources," said Hawkins.
The center piece of the Hawkins for Governor campaign is the Green New Deal, which sets a goal of transitioning to a 100% clean, renewable energy system in New York by 2030. Clean energy is also the path to full employment and affordable power. A study by Stanford and Cornell professors shows that the transition to 100% renewables would create 4.5 million new jobs and cut electric power rates in half.
Hawkins opposes the September 30 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions to allow gas storage in salt caverns along Seneca Lake. For five years local residents have been resisting attempts by the Houston Texas based company Crestwood Midstream to convert long-abandoned lakeside salt caverns into a regional storage hub for methane gas and liquified petroleum gas from fracking operations in Pennsylvania.
In September 2010, The Associated Press reported that a private consulting firm "found toxic chemicals in the drinking water of a Pennsylvania community already dealing with methane contamination from natural gas drilling." Industrial solvents were found in "virtually every sample" in Dimock PA.
As recently as this past May, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection notified a property owner that their water supply was contaminated by chemicals used by a fracking operation close to their home.
Supporting documents can be found at http://www.howiehawkins.org/fracking
Video from Hawkins' visit to Dimock:
Ingraffea's study of well casing failures can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/06/25/1323422111.abstract