JON CAMPBELL - GANNETT ALBANY
With the state budget process now over, critics of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas are again ramping up their efforts to target Gov. Andrew Cuomo, launching a call-in campaign Monday with a goal of getting tens of thousands of calls through to the governor's office.
The campaign-being backed by about 30 groups, including Frack Action, the Sierra Club and Catskill Mountainkeeper-has its own, newly launched website to match: www.CallCuomo.com.
"Riverkeeper has joined forces with fellow environmental groups, activists, elected officials and health professionals to put the focus on the question of whether to move forward with fracking where it belongs: how it will affect our health," said Paul Gallay, president of Ossining-based Riverkeeper. "We need the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers who feel the same way to tell Governor Cuomo to wait for critical health study results before making a decision that could significantly impact the health of so many communities across the state."
The groups say they will send out "hundreds of thousands of emails" to try and encourage people to call Cuomo's office. (Cuomo's administration, of course, has been weighing whether to allow fracking in formations like the gas-rich Marcellus Shale.)
In particular, the groups are focusing on an ongoing health review of fracking by state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, which has tied up a potential decision on shale-gas drilling until it's complete. Opponents of fracking have been critical of Shah's review-which focuses on recommendations made by the Department of Environmental Conservation-and have instead called for an independent, all-encompassing study of fracking's potential impacts.