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Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono deliver comments; Groups submit over 200,000 comments on fracking

Sean Lennon
Contributed photo by Anne Hart

By Fritz Mayer
January 16, 2013

ALBANY, NY — According to a coalition of groups and individuals opposed to hydraulic fracturing, the more than 200,000 comments delivered regarding proposed new regulations constitute a record. During the last comment period regarding fracking, some 66,000 were submitted.

Many boxes were delivered to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in Albany on January 11, in a sort-of ceremony, complete with police escort and a celebrity-topped press conference.

At the press conference, Yoko Ono, who owns a home in Delaware County and who recently founded the group Artists Against Fracking, praised Governor Andrew Cuomo for the environmental initiatives he outlined in his State of the State address on January 9. In that address, he said that climate change and promoting alternative energy were important goals. Ono said, “With clean energy development and by saving energy, as the governor has outlined, there is no reason to risk the dirty energy of fracking.”

Ono’s son, Sean Lennon, also addressed the assembled reporters and television crews. He noted that the company named Halliburton is heavily involved in the fracking process, and that former Vice President Dick Cheney had a long relationship with Halliburton. Cheney, Lennon said, helped to get the fracking process exempted from the Clean Drinking Water Act and Clean Air Act. If it’s not safe enough for those two laws, “then it should not be safe enough for New York State.”

Jill Wiener, from Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, also spoke at the news conference, and said that the proposed regulations were written based on a false premise—that drilling and fracking would “promote economic activity.” But she said, “Economist Dr. Jannette Barth, with absolutely no ties to the shale gas industry, has concluded that the DEC has cherry picked its research findings from pro-drilling sources in derogation of completeness, accuracy and the public interest.”