OSSINING, N.Y. -- The issue of hydrofracking for natural gas was explored at the Budarz Theater in the Ossining Public Library on Wednesday.
The documentary "Dear Governor Cuomo" was screened as part of the Ossining Library's Documentary and Discussion series. Following the film, a discussion was held with Jon Bowermaster, writer and director of "Dear Governor Cuomo," Paul Gallay, president of Ossining-based Riverkeeper, and Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) who represents District 9 on the County Board of Legislators.
"Dear Governor Cuomo" is about the effort to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydrofracking, which involves drilling into the ground to produce natural gas. The Marshallus Shale in upstate New York has been targeted by natural gas companies for drilling.
Proponents argue it will boost the upstate economy, lower energy costs and provide jobs, while opponents fear of the negative environmental impacts, particularly to the drinking water.
"Dear Governor Cuomo" shows a concert and rally that was held in May 2012. Currently, New York has a moratorium on fracking.
"The goal of the film is to provide you with this information and energize you," Bowermaster said. "Our film shows how you can get involved."
Gallay said New York has become a counter narrative to the rest of the country with its moratorium on fracking.
"There are so many places authorizing fracking without thinking it through," Gallay said.
In Westchester, the Board of Legislators unanimously banned fracking from entering into Westchester's wastewaster.
"We didn't take a position on fracking," Borgia said. "But had we not approved this, Westchester could've been financially responsible. You could be for fracking and support this."
Bowermaster said he can not find one positive about fracking, saying it does not create long-term jobs and is not a bridge to the future.
"I cannot believe so many leaders have fallen for this," Bowermaster said. "It is such a short-term gain at every level. We understand how tempting it is, but it's just not worth it.
Borgia said she began to oppose fracking when she saw the devastating effects it had on Pennsylvania.
"It really began to bother me," Borgia said.
Gallay said while he heard fracking could be done safer, he questions whether it's still safe enough.
"Citizens in New York have indicated their concerns for the environment and their health," Gallay said. "People have become informed and they don't like what they hear."