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Anti-frackers switch from protesting to saying 'thank you'

David Chanatry
New York Reporting Project
Anti-fracking protestors rally for more renewable energy at this year's State of the State.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address in Albany. But unlike years past, one thing was missing. Anti-fracking protestors used to show up each year at the speech to voice their opinion at the high-profile event. This year, they had a different message.

Unlike the thousand or so activists who lined the Empire Plaza hallways in years past, this group was smaller and in better spirits. After Cuomo banned hydrofracking in New York, the protesters wanted to give him a shout out.  

“Thank you Cuomo, make it law, make it stick,” the demonstrators chanted.

Carelton Corey, came from the Utica area to express his gratitude to the governor.

“I’ve been here three or four times in the past asking the governor to protect us from hydrofracking, and now that he did, I think he needs a big thank you,” said Corey.

Biologist Sandra Steingraber has become a leader in the anti-fracking fight. She says the ban showed the power of an informed citizenry.

We’re here to celebrate what we’ve done. We’ve had an amazing victory over the shale army,” she said.

Steingraber said political opinion was changed by science, and she too, gives credit to the governor.

“He had the courage to stand up to the world’s most powerful industry and say not so fast, not in New York,” said Steingraber.

A Siena College poll out this week showed New Yorkers support the ban by more than a 2 to 1 margin.

But for many of the protestors, including Allegra Schecter, the fight keeps going.

We won the battle but not the war,” said Schecter. “We are still being inundated with gas infrastructure, pipelines and compressor stations and LNG [liquid natural gas] terminals.”

That infrastructure moves gas from other states around the Northeast. And until that’s stopped, the activists say, the state won’t be powered by renewable energy.  

David Chanatry reported this story as part of the New York Reporting Project at Utica College. You can read more of the project's stories at their website, nyrp-uc.org.