Third-party gubernatorial candidates push for ban on hydraulic fracturing

[From: The Ithaca Journal]

While no major party gubernatorial candidates in either state have carried the banner for a hydraulic fracturing moratorium, both New York and Pennsylvania have fringe candidates who have made the fight against the natural gas drilling technique one of their top priorities.

New York Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, a Syracuse resident and former Marine, is advocating for a permanent ban on hydrofracking.

"Some of the environmental groups and the industry itself say natural gas is the bridge to the future," Hawkins said. "I think that bridge is out and I think that road goes right over a cliff."

Hawkins, who previously has run for U.S. Senate and mayor of Syracuse, said the state should be investing resources in renewable energy, and that he has a "science-based, 10-year timeline" to convert the state to carbon-free energy.

In Pennsylvania, a woman who received a leaked Homeland Security report that showed the state department was tracking anti-fracking groups has since launched a write-in campaign for governor. Virginia Cody, a former Air Force captain from Wyoming County, said she wants to see a timeout on all natural gas extraction until an extensive, peer-reviewed study proves it is safe.

"There isn't a single peer-reviewed, scientific study done on this process in the Marcellus Shale that says it is safe," said Cody, a registered Republican. "There's nothing that says it isn't safe, either, but there are an awful lot of problems in the way things have been carried out."

While both candidates said they are in it to win, both said they look at their campaigns as a way to spread a message that may otherwise be ignored.

"We're trying to change the debate to things on the table that are not being discussed, like a stock transfer tax and a ban on hydrofracking," Hawkins said. "We want to become central to the narrative of New York politics, not a sidebar. Win or lose, we're going to be pushing our program."