Mark Ruffalo Joins Rally Against Hydrofracking at BMCC

By Ben Fractenberg on November 30, 2011 6:23pm 

DOWNTOWN — "No fracking way!"

That's what hundreds of activists, including actor Mark Ruffalo, said about the natural gas-extraction method hydrofracking during a rally Downtown Wednesday — as state officials decided to extend the public comment period on the proposed, highly controversial practice.

"Why is the state and the [Department of Environmental Conservation] so gung-ho on moving forward on this regressive and unimaginative plan to frack the daylights out of New York State," Ruffalo said at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

"You say it can be done safely, but clearly it cannot. Otherwise we wouldn't be here today. "

The actor's comments came just before a state hearing about the fossil-fuel extraction method, nicknamed "fracking," which which uses pressurized water mixed with chemicals to break apart underground rock formations, releasing fossil fuels.

Critics fear that doing so upstate will damage the environment and could contaminate the city's water supply, which is drawn from reservoirs in the area.

During the meeting, which allowed the public to weigh in on proposed rules and regulations, state officials announced that the public comment period on fracking will be extended into the new year.

“Many individuals and organizations requested additional time to prepare comments,” DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis told WNYC in an email. “We have decided to extend the comment period by 30 days to Jan. 11.”

Ruffalo, who spoke with leaders including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and State Senator Daniel Squadron, said that fracking would lead to water pollution and sickness.

"Why are we here today debating what amount of poison our children should ingest or inhale?"