Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Artists Against Fracking are urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to rush a study investigating the potential health effects of permitting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to remove natural gas trapped underground. Cuomo faces a November 29th regulatory deadline to determine whether to allow fracking. In an open letter to the governor, Artists Against Fracking write that "no legitimate, credible health study can possibly be completed by next month." Missing the deadline would force New York to draft new regulations, as well as reopen a window for public comment. Full text of the letter follows below.
"We call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to clearly announce that he will not rush his health study of the effects of fracking for gas in order to meet an upcoming November 29th regulatory deadline.
No legitimate, credible health study can possibly be completed by next month. Any such rush would show that the health study announcement was a political diversion to mollify the growing opposition to fracking. We applauded the Governor for conducting such a study but are now quite alarmed.
We are also alarmed that there has been no transparency on this study. Who is conducting it and how? What experts are being consulted? There needs to be a public process and open hearings of course. Is it examining effects on water, air, pregnant women, agriculture, psychological stress, social health such as increased traffic accidents and crime, and strain on emergency services? The public has no idea.
We call on the Governor to immediately renounce the November 29th deadline in order to produce a real health study free of political pressure. This will mean re-starting the regulatory process. We must not rush. We also renew our request to meet with the Governor and Health Commissioner Dr. Shah as this study begins.
Fracturing bedrock for gas is an inherently dirty and unsafe technology. Cement and pipes at these great depths are simply not reliable, as the industry's own documents show. The pressures of the deep earth and the differences in temperature along the cement expand and contract it to the breaking point, some right away, more over time. Water laden with toxic chemicals leaks out into aquifers and wells. Powerful methane leaks into the air and further warms our climate. Pastoral rural areas are turned into brownfields.
New York can create far more jobs, and create and save far more energy than fracking will ever produce by insulating all buildings, replacing all windows, and greatly expanding clean, renewable energy. Let's make New York the clean energy state. Imagine Clean Energy. Don't Frack New York."