TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- More than 100 vocal anti-fracking protesters from the Westchester area picketed outside the Doubletree Hotel in Thursday while Gov. Andrew Cuomo attended a campaign fundraiser.
Fracking, or hydro-fracking, is a method used to get natural gas from rock. New York has plentiful gas deposits trapped in rock deep below ground. To release the gas, drillers pump down million of gallons of water filled with chemicals.
The protesters, who arrived before 5 p.m. and remained at the busy intersection where I-287 empties on to Broadway at the entrance of the Tappan Zee Bridge, until 7 p.m., chanted and displayed signs demanding that the governor ban fracking in the state.
Gov. Cuomo arrived at the event undetected while the protest was going on a left in one of two black SUVs just a few minutes after 7 p.m. when most of the protesters had gone.
"We're here to send a strong message that Gov. Cuomo should ban fracking and that we are going to be there to tell him to do that, literally everywhere he goes," said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director of Food & Water Watch, which sponsored the protest. "There are a number of issues with upstate fracking, but wherever they end up fracking, it effects the water system."
Members of Concerned Familes of Westchester and students from Purchase College, SUNY New Paltz and Bronx Community College lined the sidewalks in front of the Doubletree as dozens of rush hour motorists honked their car and truck horns to show approval for the protesters.
Victoria Hudson, who has demonstrated against fracking in Albany as well as locally, said the governor has a responsibility to the health of New Yorkers.
"Fracking will effect the drinking water of millions of people in New Jersey, Pennsylvania an New York," Hudson said. "And we all buy dairy products and Governor Cuomo is so proud of the dairy industry in the state. If he wants to ruin it, he should allow fracking. But if he wants to keep a healthy dairy industry he has to ban it."
Almost 15 months after his administration began a study to evaluate the health risks of the hydraulic fracturing process of drilling for natural gas, Cuomo said in December 2013 he did not have a timeline for the report’s release.