The problem. We the People have witnessed the erosion of our inherent right to determine how our communities will be governed and evolve. The denial of the rights of individuals and communities is readily manifest in current efforts to force the damaging processes of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the people of New York State.
Vision. We envision a New York State where people have genuine governing authority to say NO to anything, such as fracking, that will harm our health and welfare, our community, and the natural world it inhabits, and to say YES to that which we believe promotes the health and vibrancy of our land, our resources, and our selves.
Mission. Our mission is to create an environment in which we claim the right to run a government truly of, for, and by the people. We will together work against those organizations, governments, and regulatory agencies that operate with disregard for people and nature. Stopping fracking is our primary initial battle and represents the many barriers we must overcome to achieve our vision.
Terminology. We use the term “fracking” to mean all the processes involved in exploring, developing, extracting, disposing, storing, and distributing shale gas (so-called “natural” gas) via unconventional drilling, and all related industrial activities. We use it secondarily but equally importantly to denote the “fracturing” of our health, environment, communities, and way of life by those who would usurp and abrogate our rights.
We also do not use the term “natural” gas. The only natural state for gas (mostly methane) trapped within shale rock deep in the ground underlying New York State is to remain where it is. The term “natural,” like many other carefully chosen terms used by industry, is intended to give the false impression that shale gas is a benign and “clean, green” fuel, when in fact its extraction via fracking is likely as dirty as coal, as pointed out in studies by Robert Howarth, Ph.D., David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, and colleagues, as well as other non-industry-funded scientists.
Shared values. We are committed to building a society in which:
- Continued access to potable water, breathable air, secure food sources, and an unsullied natural environment is more valuable than the extraction of nonrenewable resources;
- Financial gain by a few individuals and businesses is not an acceptable trade-off for negatively affecting, contaminating, or degrading our health, environment, homes, or quality of life;
- The human inhabitants of an environment are ethically responsible for the well-being of all other living creatures in that environment;
- People have an inherent right and obligation to refute and resist unreasonable imposed laws and any actions or inactions that threaten their health, safety, and well-being and those of future generations, as well as the natural world on which they rely for sustenance and survival;
- “Corporate personhood” is ended and the people’s sovereignty is restored; and
- Public education is key in developing majority support for the above.
Collective Commitments. We resolve to:
- Stop fracking;
- Preserve and improve existing ecosystems rather than allowing their destruction for financial profit;
- Educate ourselves and our communities about the inherent dangers of current industry practices and ways to combat the erosion of our rights and threats to our quality of life;
- Consistently act toward building a broad-based, mass movement of people who are receptive to these values, goals, and strategies;
- Act for the mutual benefit of members of all communities, even though discussions and decisions may be charged with emotion and the dynamics around money;
- Emphasize our commitment to local organizing and education while remaining engaged in statewide, interstate, and international efforts;
- Move beyond the current structure of law and assist communities to establish the rights of self-protection from imposed threats;
- Provide leadership and support for building a movement to make fracking a felony crime in NYS;
- Live our values when choosing, purchasing, and using goods, services, and energy as much as possible given current strictures and structures that are set up to keep us dependent on fossil fuels;
- Act with integrity and a firm conviction that our vision is achievable.
The Plan. To implement and support in the order necessary to prevent fracking in New York State: Public education, local ban laws, state law to make fracking a crime, and creative action.
Educational Forums. We will conduct public education forums mainly in Central New York that focus on eliminating fracking and other corporate-state practices that abuse people’s rights and community health, safety, and longevity. We will sponsor or cosponsor forums in other regions when invited. These forums will be customized to audiences as determined by the local organizers. Each forum will conclude with identified action steps that individual citizens and communities can consider taking. We will communicate with attendees and offer involvement via the CPNY website, social media, and other means.
Make Local Law. Each community has its own unique characteristics and culture. We champion the rights of each community to develop and implement law that protects and fosters that uniqueness and the health, safety, and well-being of its residents and nature in the ways that a community’s members decide are best for them. We will help municipalities to pass laws that will prohibit fracking and other practices that adversely affect residents, nature, and the resources on which their communities rely.
Outlaw Fracking. Deliberate poisoning of people and nature is criminal by any civilized standard. Thus, we support New York Public Law Number One, drafted by the people to criminalize fracking and all fracking-related activities everywhere in the state (http://www.frackbustersny.org/criminalization-law.html). Making fracking a crime removes it from the regulatory system and places it within the criminal code. New York Public Law Number One validates our authority as We the People over elected representatives. Together we will build a powerful statewide movement with the goal of permanently outlawing fracking and related activities in and near New York State.
Our mission is accomplished by people who commit to involvement. You can get involved by visiting the CPNY website at www.coalitiontoprotectnewyork.org.
We hope you will join us!