On wednesday, the New York Times published an article detailing Governor Cuomo’s plan to instate “a plan to limit the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing to portions of several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support for the technology.” (See: New York Times Article 6/13/12)
Once again, we see that the poorest communities are the ones who suffer first and the most from damaging extractive industries. The article notes how many people who lease their land are on the brink of losing their homes, and feel that they have no other option. The article has a clear pro-fracking slant, quoting many who speak in support of fracking. The implication is that Cuomo’s “plan” is considerate and responsible to all New York citizens, neglecting that he is sacrificing certain communities and preying on their vulnerabilities in order to curry Industry favor.
Any day now, drilling may begin in Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga Counties. Fracking isn’t a distant anxiety: it is coming to New York State this summer, and we are running out of options.
For years now, communities and citizens have been working on legislative action. While this is without a doubt crucial, what happens if and when legislation fails us?
What happens when, this summer, Big Natural Gas starts drilling in one of the aforementioned Southern Tier Counties?
Direct Action has worked in the past — we’ve seen it in the civil rights movement and many others. There have been many points throughout history when citizens can no longer rely on their elected officials because those officials are either powerless or corrupt. Now is one of those times.
When it comes to protecting our communities and the land we love, most of us would do just about anything. We, the residents of a region known for its lakes, rivers, and gorges, must come together to fight back against an industry which will sell us out for profit. All we have left are our bodies, so let’s use them to speak our hearts and minds loud and clear.
The NYT article mentions “a coalition of lesser-known groups opposes fracking under any circumstances and plans further demonstrations.” It’s time for that coalition to stand up and demonstrate, so that we might MAKE ourselves better-known across the state and country.
For the past few weeks, the Shaleshock Action Working Group has for the been working on the first action of what we hope will be a strong direct action campaign in New York State — one that will hopefully connect us to the struggles of communities already fighting gas drilling across the Marcellus Region. This first action will be Wednesday June 27th at a time and location to be announced closer to the day of the action. Note: This is a NON-ARRESTABLE action. All ages are welcome and encouraged to come out and support efforts to save our communities.
There will be two meetings prior to the action:
Organizer Plug-In Meeting- June 17th at 7pm at 311 S. Albany Street, Ithaca, NY. This meeting will be for people who want to take an active role in this action. Folks who attend can plug into the organizing that the Shaleshock Action Working Group has already done. Action roles including joining the Media Team, Security/Police Liasons, Peacekeepers, Chantleaders, Art/Music Team, Logistics help.
Action Orientation- June 24th 7pm, location TBA in Ithaca, NY. This will be an orientation for ALL people who want to be involved in the action. There will be a brief presentation about the action, an explanation of the decision to keep this specific action non-violent and non-arrestable, and a brief discussion of any last minute logistics. This short orientation will be followed by an artmake for people to make signs, puppets, songs, and other art to bring to the action. This meeting is not mandatory for folks who want to go to the action but attendance is strongly encouraged.
The action will take place about 40 minutes away from Ithaca on Wednesday, June 27. For strategical reasons, we cannot disclose the exact location of the action. The action is completely child-friendly and it would be great to have a wide range of ages represented to show the media that this is a FAMILY and COMMUNITY issue. We all drink water here!
If anyone has any questions or concerns, or ideas about how to help, please contact directly: