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Thousands gather in Albany for anti-fracking rally


Interview with Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting, Ithaca. (:57)

Outside the doors of the 2013 State of the State Address in Albany, Wed., Jan 9, more than 2,000 anti-fracking protesters, along with at least 100 pro-fracking advocates, lined the length of the north and south corridor of Empire State Plaza in an effort to send a clear message to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo about the process of gas extraction known as “high volume hydrofracking.” The event was a raucous, but orderly noise rally, lasting for more than four hours. The sound of people chanting “ban fracking now,” and hundreds of signs and banners greeted Assembly members and invited guests as they made their way into the State of the State Address. Pro-frackers chanting “we want jobs” were drowned out by anti-frackers chanting “we want water.” During Cuomo’s presentation inside, several keynote speakers spoke out in the corridor, including actress and activist Debra Winger, biologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber, and Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping. Musician Pete Seeger played his banjo, leading the crowd in “This Land Is Your Land.” Seeger said if Cuomo stands up to the gas industry and bans fracking in New York, he could become President of the United States. People came to the event from Buffalo, Oneonta, Binghamton, Syracuse, Ithaca, the Southern Tier, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Pennsylvania, as well. Cuomo made no mention of the controversial drilling process in his State of the State Address. – Sam Sebren