Updated 01/17/2013 08:32 PM
Activists head to PA for anti-fracking tour
A group of activists including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon spent part of their day in Pennsylvania for an anti-fracking tour. The controversial natural gas extraction method has been a hot button issue in New York State. Zack Fink has more.
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PENNSYLVANIA -- Actress Susan Sarandon joined Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, for a bus trip of natural gas extraction sites in Pennsylvania where hydraulic fracturing is prevalent.
New York State is considering lifting its moratorium on the controversial procedure, which has sparked a massive debate.
Ono said, "They keep saying, oh the jobs that you have to get in New York State, but no, they don't do that, because they just bring people from Texas, for example, because you need to be a professional to do this job."
The group Artists against Fracking rejects the claim that New York City's watershed would be protected because Governor Andrew Cuomo would limit drilling to New York's Southern Tier, five counties that border Pennsylvania.
Lennon said, "While saying you will protect the New York aquifers, you are admitting number one that it’s not safe. And you are also saying that it’s okay to drill near more rural communities and poison their water."
The artists have formally requested a meeting with the governor on this issue.
"I think he has a lot of pressure on him because of the economy and there is a lot of corporate influence in politics. That's just the way it works these days," Sarandon said.
Critics say once fracking is allowed, damage to the land is irreversible.
"My grandfather talked about non-violence. And it's not just about non-violence against human beings. It was non-violence against nature, ecology, environment, everything," said activist Arun Gandhi.
Industry defenders say the Fracking process has improved.
"They have constantly gotten better for sure. What we have seen is the use of more and more casing being used all the time. When the process started we maybe had two or three layers of casing, we are now seeing four or five," said Tom Shepstone, Northeast Marcellus Initiative.
New York State is set to make a decision next month on whether to go forward with hydraulic fracturing. Governor Cuomo has said repeatedly that the decision will be based on science.