Adding to the increasing numbers of celebrities adding their voice to the anti-fracking and anti-extreme extraction movement overall, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon today joined protesters at a rally at the offices of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany.
The rally was organized by a coalition of anti-fracking activists, including “Artists Against Fracking” and “New Yorkers Against Fracking,” and was timed to coincide with an expected ruling by Cuomo on whether to open up New York state to the controversial natural gas drilling process, which uses explosives and a mix of highly toxic chemicals to break open underground bedrock and unleash natural gas.
Cuomo’s ruling — which is expected sometime within the next few weeks — is being watched closely nationwide. Only a handful of states currently ‘frack’ (North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Wyoming among the largest); what happens green in New York will have great influence over the direction of this recently-booming technology.
The process — a relatively new one — has not been subject to long-term environmental or public health testing and, further, the gas industry has taken extensive steps to prevent the ingredients used in the process from becoming public knowledge — going so far as to propose legislation which would ban doctors from discussing with their own patients* the health risks associated with chemicals used in fracking (*including people who live on property which now contains fracked wells — even if they are experiencing symptoms). The New England Journal of Medicine, as I reported on Planetsave last year, cited the fracking industry as “infringing upon the patient-physician relationship.”
The chemicals used in fracking include Benzene (linked to high rates of childhood leukemia) and other highly carcinogenic and neurologically disruptive chemicals — many of which are used with little or no requirements for disclosure, warning, or registry.
As time is passing, however, the consequences associated with fracking are beginning to show: it’s now linked to contaminated groundwater and soil, high rates of childhood leukemia and neurological damage, and, recently, even to livestock death and disease. The process also burns a fossil fuel — methane — which has a considerably higher short-term greenhouse-gas effect than oil.
Other celebrities who have spoken out against fracking and other extreme-extraction methods, such as Tar Sands Oil, include Matt Damon, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, and more, including Julia Louise-Dreyfus (who, in this video, calls directly on President Obama to reject the Keystone Pipeline):
On fracking, singer Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs) appeared in the recent film “Dear Governor Cuomo” — an anti-fracking video ‘letter’ to the Governor. See her passionate direct appeal to the Governor here:
Ono and Lennon, marching with some 3,000 other people, helped deliver over 200,000 public comments to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation offices. Today was the final day for NY citizens to send comments to the DEC as it prepares its final report on fracking, which it will send to Cuomo before he issues the decision.
Speaking at the rally, Ono said: “Clean water would be history (if fracking is allowed) and we don’t want to do that… we are all in this society together.”