Updated 04/30/2012 03:20 PM
Students rally at the Capitol to protest hydrofracking in NYS
Students from across the state deliver a message to Governor Cuomo on hydrofracking in New York State. This rally comes as the DEC continues to review public comments on the hotly debated issue. YNN’s Solomon Syed reports.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- It was a clear message from several dozen students and young professionals about what they believe the governor should drill home in the ongoing hydrofracking debate.
Proponents of natural gas drilling say many of the young protesters at Monday's rally actually stand to benefit the most from the industry that could produce a seismic shift in the state's economy, springing forth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
"Lot of colleges along the Southern Tier are now catching on, they're offering curriculum in natural gas jobs, from the very basic jobs at the site to engineering jobs," said Jim Smith, Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York.
But that's not the revolution these young folks are looking for. They delivered a petition to the governor's office with signatures from more than a dozen youth leaders across the state calling for a permanent ban on natural gas drilling.
"Hydrofracking just results in boom and bust economies and this is not the solution we want for New York. We want thriving, just, and sustainable communities," said K.C. Alvey, Green Umbrella Youth NY.
The current hydrofracking moratorium is in place while the DEC continues its now four-year review of controversial issue. In the meantime, several municipalities across the state have already banned it within their limits. Commissioner Joe Martens told YNN they will take these bans into consideration when rendering a final decision on whether to issue drilling permits.
"We are not going to benefit from this, it is going to cause environmental degradation, it's going to ruin our economy, fossil fuels are boom and bust," said Caroline Cowley, Power Shift NY.
"The economic benefits are not really up for debate or discussion, we are seeing thousands of jobs created in Pennsylvania, and we expect that to happen in New York," said Smith.
The DEC is still reviewing more than 60,000 public comments it's received on the hydrofracking issue. Martens said there is no timetable for a final decision and that there’s a mountain of information to sort through and that’s the focus right now.