A new, eight-part series of video clips, drawn from the anti-fracking documentary Dear Governor Cuomo, begins today, with fiery remarks by actor/activist Mark Ruffalo inside the New York state capitol.
The anti-fracking rally, held on May 15 in Albany, was followed by a one-of-a-kind concert/educational event featuring speakers including Melissa Leo and environmental biologist Sandra Steingraber as well as musicians Natalie Merchant, Joan Osborne, Citizen Cope, the Felice Brothers, Medeski Martin & Wood, and many more. Concert footage was shot and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney; I produced and wrote the feature-length film.
The goal of the day-long event was to draw attention to the highly debated issue of fracking in New York and across the country, particularly at a time when Governor Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering lifting a moratorium against fracking, which has been in place for the past four years.
MORE: Pete Seeger on N.Y. Fracking: 'No Question It Should Be Banned'
No issue in modern times has elicited as much public debate in New York state as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The extreme process of extracting natural gas from the shale beneath the ground involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep into the earth and exploding them to release gas. Unfortunately, the toxic mess of chemicals and the methane that is released along with the natural gas has a tendency to mix with aquifers and water tables, putting the health of both humans and the environment at great risk.
As evidence for and against fracking has accumulated in the past two years by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, nearly 80,000 letters have been written to the statehouse in New York, most in protest of fracking. That is ten times the response that other divisive issues have raised in the past. Many of the letters start the same way, “Dear Governor Cuomo…”
The series of clips will be posted at TakePart TV every Friday for the next two months.
Tell us why New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should banish fracking in his state.
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A six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, Jon Bowermaster has spent the past two decades circling the world’s ocean, studying both its health and the lives of the people who depend on it. He is the author of 11 books (his most recent, OCEANS, Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide, was published by Participant Media) and producer of a dozen documentary films. His blog—Notes From Sea Level—reports daily on issues impacting the ocean and us. Follow Jon on Facebook. @jonbowermaster | Email Jon | TakePart.com