A coalition of farmers and foodies are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York state right away. Groups across the state are expected to meet throughout the week to alert the public to the risks they believe fracking poses to the state’s agricultural viability.
Food and Water Watch Organizer Rita Yelda helped organize Buffalo’s “Food not Fracking” event.
Yelda argues that the fracking process, involving the underground injection of water, chemicals and sand releases radioactive waste and produces pollution in ground water and soil.
“The soil contamination and pollution combined with the land development and water consumption really threatens the health, safety, and viability of New York state’s production of vegetables, beer, wine, dairy products. It could really have a devastation impact on some of the industries that we really call the pride of New York State,” said Yelda.
Yelda says dairy farmers report that they're already seeing the negative impacts due to fracking.
“In Pennsylvania, in Tioga County in 2010, there was a fracking waste water storage pond that leaked and it ended up spilling into a pasture where 28 cattle were grazing. Eight of the eleven calves that were born from those cattle were stillborn,” said Yelda.
Yelda said they hope their message will spark change before fracking could potentially hurt upstate’s agricultural community.
Industry and groups like the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York dispute claims that fracking waste water poses long-term risks to agriculture.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is engaged in a major study of waste water generated by the fracking process.