Anti-fracking activists confronted President Barack Obama as he toured upstate New York on Friday. Organizers reported that more than 500 protesters showed up to Obama's town hall event at Binghamton University, where the president was speaking on education.
"I think the key message we wanted to get across through the whole tour was that New Yorkers don't want this," said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast regional director at the environmental group Food and Water Watch, which coordinated the protests along with the coalition New Yorkers Against Fracking. "There's massive public opposition to fracking. "
New Yorkers Against Fracking took out a full-page ad in the Binghamton Press & Sun on Friday with the headline "President Obama: Stop covering up the science on fracking!" (Scroll down to see the ad.)
The ad argues that fracking -- the process used to extract natural gas from shale -- "can’t be done safely," "poisons water and people," and "spells disaster for the climate." The ad specifically cites news reports that the EPA hid test results that showed methane and arsenic pollution in some drinking water wells in the area around Dimock, Penn., where fracking took place. The EPA presentation, which the environmental blog DeSmogBlog released earlier this month, stated that methane and other gases released in the fracking process "apparently cause significant damage to the water quality."
More than a 100 anti-fracking activists also showed up in force at Obama's tour stops in both Buffalo and Syracuse on Thursday. Upstate New York is ground zero for the debate over fracking in the U.S. The state imposed a temporary moratorium on fracking in 2008, and has been waiting for additional studies from state and health agencies before deciding whether to let this type of gas extraction proceed.
President Obama referred to natural gas as a "transitional fuel" in his remarks in Binghamton on Friday afternoon.
See the New Yorkers Against Fracking ad here: