Drawing a Line in the Fracking Sand

New Yorkers come together in song, celebration and defiance against  fracking

No Fracking in New York!The documentary film “Dear Governor Cuomo” tells the story of fracking in New York State. The film focuses on a single night in May 2012 in which a group of musicians, scientists and activists and thousands of supporters gathered for a concert outside the capital building in Albany to demand that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo not lift the state’s moratorium on fracking.

Billed as a cross between “The Last Waltz” and “Inconvenient Truth,” the film features musical luminaries such as Natalie Merchant, Joan Osborne, Dan Zanes, the Felice Brothers, Citizen Cope, Medeski Martin and Wood, and a host of others. Heading up the “Inconvenient Truth” portion of the evening is actor Mark Ruffalo, a passionate activist against fracking, and Melissa Leo and actress whose poignant reading of an Ohio woman’s losing health battle due to poisoned water from a neighboring drilling operation served as a chilling reminder of the very real consequences of  fracking. Helping to clarify those consequences is environment biologist Sandra Steingraber, whose experiecne with toxins in the environment is not only scientific, but also very personal. The film was written and directed by Jon Bowermaster.

The explosion of fracking has altered the energy landscape in the United States, making for a mad dash to unlock the oil and gas bound up in shale formations throughout the country.  Landowners are coaxed into signing deals for short-term profits on the promise that allowing fracking on their property has about the same impact as drilling for water. In the process communities are torn apart and lives are shattered.

Often touted as a “bridge fuel” from coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, to a clean energy economy, the fracking boom has no intention of letting up until nothing is left, leaving behind poisoned water, leaked methane and human misery.If fracking can be done responsibly and with restraint, there is little evidence that it will. It is a bridge to nowhere, a double-down promising not a clean energy economy, but the start of the third carbon age.

Thus far, the New York moratorium on fracking remains in place, but Governor Cuomo could change that with a stroke of a pen. Hopefully the efforts of thousands of New Yorkers, some of whom gathered in Albany on a spring night in 2012 to share music and a common passion to stop fracking in its tracks, can prevail.

Dear Governor Cuomo is available through FilmBuff.com