Anti-fracking activists rallied in Albany against the controversial drilling method, saying that farming and agriculture are at risk. YNN's Erin Moran spoke with farmers on both sides of the issue. While some say the money is too good to pass up, others are wondering if it's worth the risk.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- “Ban fracking, fund 100 percent renewables for New York State,” said Daniel Morrissey, Albany Regional Organizer for New Yorkers Against Fracking.
That was the message Saturday as anti-fracking activists gathered at Townsend Park in Albany.
“Agriculture is the backbone of New York's economy and we can't jeopardize that,” said Morrissey.
Rebekah Rice, a local vegetable farmer who attended the rally, said her farm wouldn't benefit from fracking.
“I want clean water. I want clean air. I want a planet for my granddaughter to raise a family in and be safe. And it's very clear that fracking will not help with that,” said Rice.
She said her water comes from a spring-fed pond and if fracking liquids were to ever get into the ground water that would be the end of farming for her.
“I wouldn't be able to raise vegetables anymore. I wouldn't be able to irrigate my vegetables. I wouldn't be able to water my chickens; and, we wouldn't have anything to sell to feed people in this area,” said Rice.
But with the farming industry struggling, farmer's who are pro-fracking said it's hard to ignore the financial gains.
“It actually enhances it with the extra income, which every farmer in New York State could use right now….It secures that farm, financially, for generations,” said Neil Vitale, a dairy farmer in Steuben County.
He thinks those against fracking are just afraid of what they don't know when it comes to the drilling method. But, Rice said she knows the fracking process well and knows that just isn't safe for the environment at this time.
“There may be a future for fracking in 100 years. I'll support it if it ever becomes truly safe. Right now, we know it's not,” said Rice.
The New York State Assembly recently voted to block fracking until 2015. So, the debate will continue, for at least a little longer.