Fracking and Gas Drilling did not appear in Governor Cuomo's State of the State address, held in Albany, NY on Wednesday January 9, 2013, but the well over 1600 member crowd outside the Press Conference was letting him know how we felt,.....loud and clear. It is possible that the crowd and its controlled noise and chanting was the reason that Governor Cuomo felt compelled to comment to local media the next day. "Gas Drilling IS a big issue in this State, but there is no need to bring it into the State of the State at this time, since studies are still under way and haven't even been completed yet" said Cuomo to a much less noisy crowd on Thursday.
Activists from across the State as well as some folks who travelled from other States helped form one of the largest crowds ever to view a New York, State of the State Press Conference. When the "Pro-Gassers" arrived and paraded through from the East End, they were barely heard and created a very under whelming appearance for themselves in amongst the crowd of Anti-Drilling signs. State Rep Walter Hang led a chorus or two of "This Land Is Your Land" with Singer/Songwriter and Catskill resident Pete Seger and Natalie Merchant, another singer/songwriter, who has a home in Jamestown, NY. Seger and Merchant then sat and talked for nearly 25 minutes while onlookers snapped photos and added input to their conversation. Actress/Producer Debra Winger appeared, as usual, and stood in Solidarity holding signs and chanting with the music. Catskill Mountain Keeper Head, Wes Gillingham, lead a song or two with Hang and Winger while three State Troopers stood with arms crossed and smirks on their faces as they tried to hold back letting the crowd know that they actually enjoyed some of what was going on, too.
Local News At Noon, at one point, was reporting the crowd number as just over 1000, while reporting the Progassers at over 300,....these figures were, obviously called in from the other side. As the State Reps and State Senators traveled to and from their offices and elevators, they were forced to witness the Mass of Humanity and they could barely hear their secretaries that were walking right next to them. A common picture for the day was a Legal Secretary leaning against a wall cut-out with one hand on her ear and one hand on her cell phone,...that's how loud it was. Fractivists arrived at 10:00 AM with drummers and noise-makers and Otsego 2000 President, Ellen Pope revealed that we sent 20 busses to the event from all across the State,.....that's over 1000 on busloads, alone. Pope also said that she counted about 120 Progassers in the crowd.
It was refreshing to see so many familiar faces from all across the Southern Tier of New York. And the amount of people from New York City was just amazing. Maybe we are finally getting through to everyone across the State, that this dirty, filthy, land-grabbing industry has no place in our State. One memory I'll keep for a while is walking through the concourse and watching not one, but two of our members granting interviews,......At The Same Time!!