2,000 rally in N.Y. capital against hydraulic fracturing
ALBANY, N.Y. — About 2,000 opponents of fracking rallied Monday outside New York’s Capitol, and a new statewide poll found a slight increase in voters statewide who oppose the method of drilling for natural gas.
The demonstrators cheered announcement of the poll results while urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York, saying it would harm the environment. Pending legislation would impose that moratorium, but rally organizers acknowledged it is unlikely to be enacted.
‘‘There is no compromising our water, our air, our health, and our future,’’ organizer Julia Walsh told demonstrators, noting they were working against the oil and gas industry lobby. The demonstrators called instead for the Cuomo administration to further increase the state’s renewable energy sources, including a proposal that wind power provide 40 percent of its needs by 2030.
The poll showed 44 percent of New York voters opposed and 37 percent supporting drilling, compared with 41 to 39 percent last month. ‘‘It’s now a 7 point margin in opposition. That’s the largest it’s been in the past year,’’ pollster Steven Greenberg said.
Energy industry officials want Cuomo to end New York’s five-year ban on shale gas development and allow drilling in much of the state’s Southern Tier.
Cuomo’s decision is on hold while the state continues to study fracking’s potential impact.
Fracking involves injecting large volumes of water, plus sand and chemicals, deep underground to break apart rock and free the gas.
At the rally, singer Natalie Merchant performed ‘‘New York is Your Land,’’ a variation on the Woody Guthrie folk song, and the crowd joined, ending with the chorus, ‘‘New York was meant to be frack-free.’’