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Anti-fracking groups rally in Albany, urge ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm •  Published: June 17, 2013

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."

Beth Miller, a farmer from Bath in the Southern Tier, said many of her neighbors in the economically struggling region have signed drilling leases. However, some landowners in nearby Pennsylvania with drilling leases have found their checks diminishing recently, while others have lost their water, making their land useless, she said.

"I'm here because I'm a mother and our livelihood is tied to the land," Miller said. "First of all, we just can't live there if our water goes bad."

Poll opposition was 52 percent upstate, location of potential fracking zones, with a 44 percent plurality in heavily Democratic New York City against it. Drilling support was a 47 percent plurality in the city's suburbs. The poll June 9-13 of 804 registered voter indicated a clear divide between Democrats against drilling and Republicans in favor. The poll claimed a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

The New York State Petroleum Council said Monday that region has both high unemployment and high energy costs, while drilling presents a major economic opportunity. The group cited a report from HIS Global Insight that jobs tied specifically to drilling and hydraulic fracturing are expected to total 2.5 million by 2015, with many new jobs going to women.