Sean Lennon's anti-fracking folk performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last month didn't stop Mayor Bloomberg from endorsing "safe" fracking, and so the musician and scion of John and Yoko took to the Op-Ed pages of the Times today to speak out against hydraulic-fracturing in New York State. Lennon, who launched the environmentalist group Artists Against Fracking with mother Yoko Ono in July, railed against Bloomberg's argument that fracking benefitted the environment as long as it was regulated properly, noting that the mayor's plan to "'make sure that the gas is extracted carefully and in the right places' is akin to a smoker telling you, 'Smoking lighter cigarettes in the right place at the right time makes it safe to smoke.'"
"Natural gas has been sold as clean energy," Lennon writes. "But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word 'clean' takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don't be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy." Pulling on a few heartstrings, Lennon describes childhood memories of skipping stones and milking cows by hand at his parents' farm in upstate New York, reminding readers, frack-happy and frack-sad, that local farmers may be hit hardest if and when hydraulic-fracturing becomes a reality. "When the gas companies showed up in our backyard, I felt I needed to do some research," he writes. "I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrial landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value."
And while Bloomberg managed to get Albany to ban fracking in NYC's upstate watershed prior to outing himself as a pro-fracker, Lennon's not convinced city dwellers will still have uncontaminated H20. "The well water on my family's farm comes from the same watersheds that supply all the reservoirs in New York State," he wrote. "That means if our tap water gets dirty, so does New York City's."
Anti-fracking advocates have ratcheted up their rallying efforts of late, as Governor Cuomo gets closer to making a decision as to where and when to introduce hydraulic-fracturing in New York. Yesterday, over 1,000 New Yorkers marched to the Capitol in Albany, demanding the state government ban fracking. Meanwhile, Lennon and Ono will be holding an anti-fracking press conference at the Paley Center tomorrow afternoon, where they will be joined by several members of Artists Against Fracking, including Mark Ruffalo and anti-fracking doc Gasland director Josh Fox.