Concerned Families of Westchester To Protest Fracking

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Anti-fracking demonstrators Saturday in Hastings. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore
New York is considering the issue of fracking with local residents planning to protest Wednesday in Albany. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -  Members of the Concerned Families of Westchester will join an anti-fracking rally Wednesday in Albany at the state capitol.

Concerned Families and the Hudson River Coalition demonstrated Saturday in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Hastings-on-Hudson wielding anti-fracking signs and publicizing the Albany event.

The group is sponsoring a bus trip to Albany leaving at 7 a.m. Wednesday for the 11 a.m. rally in Albany.

"I think there will be a few thousand people (in Albany), but I don't know what the organizers are expecting," said Frank Brodhead, of Concerned Families. "Our concern is that fracking contaminates drinking water and poisons people. If (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo decides not to end the moratorium or limits fracking to a few counties, the door remains open to expanding the fracking in the future.

Cuomo currently is weighing the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing against the risks environmentalists say pollutes groundwater and the air.

Fracking, or hydro-fracking, is a method used to get natural gas from rock. New York 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 released Thursday, potential hazards could be avoided by implementing precautions the state has identified. The report states fracking would not be a danger to public health in New York as long as proper safeguards were followed.

Natural gas drilling in New York could create $11.4 billion in economic profits and raise $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue, according to a July 2011 report from the Manhattan Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank.

"We want to see the legislature ban fracking, so that it would be more difficult for a future governor to allow it," Brodhewad said. "Many people stopped by our rally (Saturday) to express their support for the anti-fracking cause. I am optimistic that our numbers will grow."

The Hudson River Coalition is sponsoring a showing of the "Concert Protest Film" featuring actor Mark Ruffalo at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Dobbs Ferry American Legion Hall.

For information on the Albany event, go to the organization's website. To learn more about fracking, email Brodhead at the Concerned Families of Westchester at fbrodhead@aol.com.

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