Obama's visit brings protesters on both sides of fracking

May 22, 2014

President Barack Obama and the national press descended on the village of Cooperstown Thursday afternoon. His presence also brought out protesters both for and against the controversial process of drilling for natural gas, known as hydrofracking.

Victor Furman says it’s unfair that New York is beholden to what he calls an unfair moratorium, with such a resource at it’s feet.

“The regs have been done for four years now, they're finalized, they’re just sitting on a desk and it’s time for New York to open up this opportunity for every citizen in this state, not just the land owners," Furman said. "The people that are here holding the anti-frack signs, you can’t drink gas signs. Every one of them uses natural gas.”

Furman’s small group of pro-drilling supporters were significantly outnumbered by the anti-fracking protesters.

Keith Schue is with Sustainable Otsego, a non-profit in the Catskills-Leatherstocking region. He calls the hydraulic fracturing industry "boom and bust" and says what few jobs it creates disappear just as suddenly as they appear. He says the state should be focused on other economic engines.

“The great thing about renewable energy is that you’re not tied into the uncertainty of the price market of how much gas is gonna cost," Schue said. "If we end up transporting gas from this country overseas, you’re gonna see gas prices rise."

Schue says he hopes the continued presence of the anti-fracking protesters will remind Gov. Andrew Cuomo how many New Yorkers are vehemently against the practice.

New York has been under a hydraulic fracturing moratorium since 2008. Many expect Cuomo to make a decision whether or not to lift it after the November election.

The governor was running late from the Democratic Convention and wasn’t present for President Barack Obama’s remarks on tourism.