The good: Both Occupy Wall Street (OWS) starting its third week and October2011.org starting on Oct. 6 at Freedom Square in Washington, DC represent efforts by concerned Americans to take control of our country and our lives. From October2011.org, “The normal tools of advocacy — elections, lobbying, grass roots pressure — have become ineffective. Corporations control the political process and the media message.”
In the coming days and months millions more will be exposed to: 1. the full extent of the corporate practice of profits over people and the environment, 2. how lobbyists and elected officials support the corporate agenda and 3. all the ways corporate personhood is robbing us of our democracy. Disclosure of the propaganda of the oil and gas industry and their abhorrence of any regulation can only boost our efforts to ban fracking in New York State.
The bad: Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee have brought unimaginable devastation to the land and lives of so many. Could the violent rains and winds of Irene have been exacerbated by global climate change? What about the potential disasters brought on by fracking including poisoned air and water, seismic activity and radioactivity because cracked shale releases radon?
The ugly: Governor Cuomo has appointed an industry-biased High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) Advisory Panel for guidance. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study (dSGEIS) with public comment due by Dec. 12. There will be a public meeting Nov. 29 in Sullivan County. All details are on the DEC web site at dec.ny.gov. Web sites listed below have guidelines to help you with your public comments.
Oversight and regulations will not make fracking safe. A ban on HVHF would be the only deterrent for the disasters that accompany this form of gas drilling. The industry has not spent one cent to research how to handle the toxic and radioactive post-fracking waste water. They want to send it to municipal water treatment plants which are not capable of handling the chemicals. They want to start issuing permits for HVHF the beginning of 2012 and have NO resolution for this major potential hazard.
1. Support OWS. See Facebook page Occupy Wall Street Hudson Valley for lists of supplies needed and buses/car pools that are going to Wall Street.
2. Stay informed. There are many good web sites such as catskillcitizens.org, foodandwaterwatch.org and frackaction.com. If you have children or grandchildren, go to steingraber.com and read about Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.
3. Inform others.
4. Call Gov. Cuomo (518-474-8390) and any of your elected officials at all levels up to President Obama (202-456-1111).
5. Join or start a group. Come to the Climate Action Coalition Thursdays 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall (25 Plattekill).
6. Attend SUNY Farm Fest on the campus at Old Main Quad from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 7 and the Flood Aid Benefit Concert in Hasbrouck Park from noon to 6 p.m. on Oct. 16. Find more in Facebook.
For more letters, see print edition.