New York Farmers Sound Off On Cuomo's Decision To Delay Fracking

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That gush of wind some New York residents felt earlier this week presumably came from thousands of simultaneous “finger sparkles” as anti-fracking activists rejoiced while industry executives collectively grunted and ha-rumphed upon hearing the decision of Governor Andrew Cuomo to press the reset button on fracking approvals for the state. As impacts will be reanalyzed, this time to include more study into the potential consequences to public health, the reevaluation period is likely to push back a steadfast approval or ban at least a year or two.

The postponement obviously rattles industry members and a few landowners who want to start exploiting local fuel sources. But even some anti-fracking organizers aren’t pleased, calling it “a reprise” when they’d rather see a full ban on the practice in the state.

But what do the state’s farmers say?

To find out, I visited the renowned Union Square Greenmarket – a staple of the city and one of the largest in the country – to ask local farmers about the issue of fracking. The potential environmental impacts and water hazards are of particular concern, lest they contaminate crops and soil or poison livestock & hatcheries.

The vast majority of the farmers I talked with were unsettled and skeptical that fracking could be brought to the state safely.

Farmers like Dave Harris, whose fish hatchery lies over the Marcellus Shale, are dubious about the gas companies being truthful in their assurances of fracking despite its uncertainties,

“I’m very much against it. I don’t think there are nearly enough safeguards in place… I think [Cuomo’s decision] was a politically wise decision and I’m glad he did that. I would rather they wait until it could be proved to be done safely, and hopefully there would be a better cleaner technique for it… I don’t know anyone who’s in favor of fracking.”

Tom Toigo, a dairy farmer, claims Cuomo’s latest decision feels “gratifying,” in that the Governor is responding to citizens’ concerns and not just companies with economic and political sway – especially when the companies refuse to reveal all of the chemical components of fracking fluid.

“It’s either safe technology or it’s not.”

See the entire interview below:

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