Like many, Dan Bower, of Hampton Bays, had no idea what hydraulic fracking was until he watched the 2010 documentary, Gas Land written and directed by filmmaker Josh Fox. The images in the film, which show how natural gases are pulled from rocks using a controversial process called fracking have caused an outcry not only on Long Island, but across the county (see related articles below.)
"The film inspired me to get active and help get people involved in learning about this environmental crisis," said Bower.
Bower said he soon joined the non-profit Food and Water Watch organization, which advocates for, according to the group's website, "common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water."
The organization has also been working to lobby New York State to ban fracking, which Sam Bernhardt, of Food and Water Watch, says is "an extremely dangerous process that causes devastation and water contamination."
"It pumps hundreds and thousand of carcinogens into the water," said Bernhardt.
Fracking proponents, however, disagree. In an article, called What is Fracking, published by Columbia Patch, Oklahoma-based Natural Gas producer Chesapeake Energy explains that Hydraulic fracturing has been around for decades and "it is a proven technological advancement which allows producers to safely recover natural gas and oil from deep shale formations.”
Bower says after joining Food and Water Watch, he reached out to Bernhardt to bring the message to the East End of Long Island, where the are always a topic of discussion.
"While fracking doesn't impact the East End of Long Island directly, we do get a lot of produce from upstate and fracking does pollute the air and ground water," said Bower.
Two weeks ago, Bower brought this message to East End residents through a screening of Gasland that took place at the, which was attended by some 40 residents, who were all asked to sign a petition.
The petition, according to Bernhardt, asks the state to support a one-year moratorium on fracking in New York State so a study can take place.
Already, according to Bernhardt, State Senator Kenneth LaValle, has co-sponsored a bill, which was introduced in March and calls for a five-year moratorium. However, Bernhard believes that the bill, called the "Look Before We Leap Act of 2012" is not feasible.
"That bill is designed to fail," said Berhardt. "It is not a serious attempt the tackle the issue."
Senator LaValle told Patch that he would also support a one-year moratorium if it comes up for a vote, but, he said, he would not co-sponsor it.
East End Assemblyman Fred Thiele, I-Sag Harbor, is a co-sponsor of both the the five-year and one-year moratorium proposals.
Other fracking articles from around the country and Long Island:
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