Howie Hawkins visited Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania on October 9 to see first hand the impacts of hydrofracking and to meet with residents whose water has been polluted as a result of drilling operations.
"It should be abundantly clear that Fracking must be banned in the state of New York. That was the position I took in 2010 when I ran for Governor and that continues to be my position.
"While Cuomo has held off on giving the green light to the use of fracking for natural gas, his administration has pushed forward the construction of the infrastructure that supports fracking. 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.
"If Governor Cuomo gives the green light for Fracking, does he have a plan on how to deal with cleaning up contaminated water systems like those we saw last week in Pennsylvania?" said Howie Hawkins.
"I met with homeowners who have seen their land and property values destroyed. The people I met with have to buy water that is brought in 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."
"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."
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 a 15-year a transition to 100% clean renewables would create 4.5 million new jobs and cut electric power rates in half.
Hawkins also 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 methan gas and liquified petroleum gas from fracking operations in Pennsylvania.
Hawkins said, "The storage facilities along Seneca Lake are bringing fracking into New York, even though New Yorkers are overwhelmingly opposed to fracking. We need to ban fracking and halt any and all gas infrastructure development. Andrew Cuomo cannot be trusted to do what is right for the citizens of New York. Just last week he was caught doctoring a report on how Fracking would affect our water supply. We need a Governor who will make decisions based on science, not on politics".
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: