DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - The Hudson River Coalition is sponsoring a free screening of the anti-fracking concert protest film "Dear Governor Cuomo" featuring actor Mark Ruffalo at the Dobbs Ferry American Legion Hall on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
The film was written and directed by Jon Bowermaster, with musical direction by Natalie Merchant and also stars Melissa Leo, Joan Osborne, Citizen Cope, Medeski Martin and Wood and is equal parts message and music.
Co-presenters Nancy Delmerico and Sara Vlahovic, both of Dobbs Ferry, have also included a teach-in session with the filmmaker and activists from New Yorkers Against Fracking and Riverkeeper & Water Defense following the film.
Fracking, or hydro-fracking, is a method used to get natural gas from rock. New York state has plentiful gas deposits trapped in rock deep below ground. To release the gas, drillers pump down million of gallons of water filled with chemicals.
According to a February 2012 preliminary assessment from the state Department of Health, potential hazards could be avoided by implementing precautions the state has identified. The report also states fracking would not be a danger to public health in New York as long as proper safeguards were followed.
Local groups like the Hudson River Coalition have been petitioning Gov. Andrew Cuomo to strengthen fracking regulations. Cuomo extended into 2013 a Nov. 29, 2012 deadline that would set regulations on the process.
“This is a big decision for the state,” Cuomo said in a statement in late November. “It has potential economic benefits if the state goes forward with fracking, but we want to make sure it’s safe and we want to make sure the environment is protected, people are protected and that’s why we’re doing a health assessment.”
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has been doing an environmental impact study and drafting new regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, since 2008. Shale drilling has been on hold since then amid health and environmental worries surrounding fracking, which stimulates a well's production by injecting huge volumes of chemical-laced water to crack deep, gas-rich shale deposits.
For more information, log on to the Hudson River Coalition Against Fracking Facebook site.