DeWitt : NYS Public Radio/WXXI WCNY 8/19/2013
President Obama is planning on visiting upstate New York this
week to promote an education plan. But whenever a major politician
visits the region, the issue of fracking is often on the agenda,
whether they like it or not.
President Obama’s planned trip to Buffalo, Syracuse and
Binghamton will focus on the importance of getting an affordable
But activists opposed to hydrofracking want the topic of natural
gas drilling to be on the agenda as well.
“We’re going to be present in Binghamton by the hundreds if not
the thousands,” says Walter Hang, with the Ithaca-based Toxics
Hang says protesters are expected at the President’s other stops
as well, but the Southern Tier, which is at the epicenter of the
gas drilling debate, will feature the largest demonstration.
“It would be irresponsible to permit shale fracking anywhere in
New York without comprehensive public health protections or
liability standards,” Hang said.
Another anti-fracking group, Frack Action, is calling for
volunteers to attend the protests on its Facebook page.
While Obama is pro-fracking, and has promoted gas drilling in
his State of the Union message, many New York politicians oppose
fracking, and the state has had a defacto five-year moratorium on
Gov. Mario Cuomo has said he’s neutral on the issue, but his
Health Commissioner has been delaying the release of a health study
for nearly a year.