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That (anti) fracking rally in downtown Albany

anti-fracking rally capitol park Albany

A crowd of about 1,000 people showed up in downtown Albany Monday to rally against hydrofracking. The crowd gathered in the Corning Preserve, then filled the block on Broadway in front of the the DEC building, moved up the middle of State Street, and finally to Capitol Park for a lineup speakers. [LoHud Albany Watch] [@JonCampbellGAN] [@JonCampbellGAN] [@_1134] [@AmandaSavarese]

The anti-fracking movement is fired up right now because the Cuomo administration's decision on whether to allow the natural gas extraction method is reportedly near -- and the word circulating is that the admin will allow some fracking in the state. (Cuomo played down those rumors recently.) Not surprisingly, much of the anti-fracking message today was directed at Andrew Cuomo. [CBS News] [TU] [Reuters]

The decision -- whenever it comes out -- will be a big deal.

Fracking has the potential to be an economic boon for parts of the state, especially some of the economically depressed parts in the Southern Tier. But it also carries significant potential environmental risks, particularly to drinking water (Dimock, Pennsylvania has become the poster town for these risks). [TU] [NPR] [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Pro Publica has been tracking this issue extensively. And if you prefer it explained musically, here you go. [ProPublica] [ProPublica]

All this is happening in the context of a natural gas boom in the United States because of fracking. And that boom is having profound effects on the energy picture. Natural gas has become so cheap that it's looking like it could overtake coal as the leading source of fuel for generating electricity in this country, an unprecedented decline in coal's prominence. The increased role of natural gas has been credited with dropping the country's carbon dioxide output to its lowest level in 20 years (though skeptics have expressed doubts about how much credit natural gas should get). [NPR] [The Atlantic] [AP/NPR] [ThinkProgress]

Nothing with energy is ever simple. And more often than not, it's about making a trade-off between the not-good and the we-think-it's-not-as-bad.
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More pics from today's rally are above in large format -- scroll all the way up.

Earlier and elsewhere:
+ The city of Albany passed a fracking ban earlier this year, after some political drama last year. Guilderland also passed a ban this year. [TU] [AOA] [TU]
+ Fracking has become a very contentious issue in some towns, such as Cooperstown. [NYT]
+ Brewery Ommegang said last year it was thinking about moving if fracking started near it. (Water is rather important to beer.) [Oneonta Daily Star]
+ What the frack is going on?

Comments

Hmmm. People against natural gas development and pipelines. Perhaps they do not like energy generally?

I still can't get over the fact that most of these protesters voted for Cuomo knowing his position on the matter at the time. Would anyone of you pro-Cuomo/anti-fracking people care to comment? Is your political affiliation that important to you that you'll allow fracking to keep a Democrat in office? Or are other issues more important? Do you consider your support of fracking in 2010 to be a good trade-off because now some people who used to have to drive an hour to Massachusetts can instead get married here?

I just don't get it.

Saying that someone is a hypocrite because they're against a particular type of energy production that has hugely negative consequences, (but most likely enjoys the fruits of energy it produces) is ridiculous. It's like saying a lactose intolerant person who wont eat dairy because it make them @#$% their pants should decide not to eat...... there are far cleaner, existing ways of lighting a light bulb that can drive our economy further, reduce un-employment and last longer than a 5-10 year boom cycle. Fossil fuel is not the only way....... and @ Confuse-us, do you remember who Cuomo ran against?!

" trade-off between the not-good and the we-think-it's-not-as-bad." The jury has come in on Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing and it is as bad or worse than burning coal. Many of us in the movement think that the country needs to see just how far we can get through energy conservation and deployment of renewable energy production before any further development of fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction is allowed. Thanks to the fossil fuel industry and its political bagmen, we have yet to make significant commitments to conservation and renewable energy development. If there is a subtext to the anti-frack movement, it is this. Those of us living above shale gas geology will not go quietly into the night to accommodate the ruination of our countryside and communities by government and industry that has no interest in the welfare of ALL the people.

@ Confuse-us....you remember the alternative to Cuomo in that election, right? It's not like he was running against Pataki or Bloomberg or some other halfway palatable republican.

And the people who think this form of energy harvest is a good idea have to imagine what it would be like living near one of these operations and having your family drink the water from your well. It's not a comforting thought.

N and Dylan- Yeah, I remember that election and I remember two candidates who were on the record against fracking. Voting for one pro-fracking candidate because you're afraid another pro-fracking candidate who likes horse porn might win if you don't doesn't really make sense here.

Bottom line: When it counted, you supported fracking and you'll do it again. Cuomo knows this, so why waste your time in these rallies?

I don't understand why any of the coverage fails to mention that EVERYONE THERE and more than 3000 people from across New York took a pledge to use non-violent civil disobedience to stop this process from taking place (I DO actually understand why, it's just sad and shameful). Also, I didn't vote for Cuomo. I don't care what nut job or uber-jag any major party is running, I won't vote out of fear over my conscience.

My big concern... gas companies will use "and leave" millions of gallons of a liquid they mfg deep in the ground. They are not required to provide a list of chemicals that make up this liquid. It's a proprietary formula... a secret.
Gas companies will not provide a chemical list to NYS officials (with an agreement not to share it) so that our own experts can look for toxins.

Gas companies are asking us to trust them. I'm sorry the gas companies are paying for the sins of others but I don't have any trust to hand out; especially to board members of public companies (whose pay and mega bonuses are based on Corp profits). They have every reason to lie.

Gas companies want... deserve my trust... why? I'm tired of trusting others only to be deceived and betrayed. Richard Nixon, Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, Bill Clinton, George Bush, A-Rod, Bernie Madoff, Pete Rose, John Edwards, Roger Clemens, Joe Bruno, Shelly Silver, Alan Hevesi.. OMG I can't keep up with the liars that surround us!

Trust us! If gas companies don't have to tell NYS residents what chemicals they are leaving in the ground then what prevents them from adding chemicals that are expensive to dispose of (in a legal manner) into the frack liquid. That could save a gas company millions of dollars (and every board member gets paid bonuses based upon profits).

Trust us! Sorry no way, you simply don't deserve my trust. Tell us what you're leaving in the ground.

What reason would gas companies have for not providing a full list of chemicals to NYS officials so NYS (w/o sharing the proprietary formula) can examine the list for toxins... well I suppose it's because the gas companies don't trust NYS officials to keep the list a secret. Ironic isn't. So I may not be alone.

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