By Jill Colvin
CITY HALL — Actor Mark Ruffalo brought a little star power to City Hall Tuesday as he joined local politicians seeking a moratorium on gas drilling upstate, warning that a misstep could contaminate the water of millions.
The group was calling on the State Assembly to pass a measure approved by the State Senate last week that would put the brakes on "hydrofracking," a drilling process employing a mixture of chemicals injected into the earth to break up rock and allow natural gas to escape.
"We're sick of being run over by gas and oil businesses," Ruffalo, the star of "The Kids Are All Right," said from a podium on the steps of City Hall. "We're sick of being run over by industry. This is the one time that we've got a chance to stand up and say 'No!' before it's too late."
The state has proposed using fracking to mine a portion of New York's section of the Marcellus Shale, home to the city's water supply.
But opponents argue that a single accident there could spell disaster for 12 million New Yorkers.
"If there's one thing we've learned from the oil spill in Mexico, it's that a price cannot be put on the health of our citizens," State Sen. Liz Kreuger said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was equally angered by proposals to allow the drilling, arguing that it was unthinkable that the state would even "consider a dangerous, untested plan of hydrofracking that all experts believe will put our water supply at risk."
Ruffalo later introduced Craig Sautner, 57, from Dimock, P.A., who held up a jug of brown, filmy water that he said had begun to flow from his taps after drilling began near his home.
He said the water has tested positive for numerous chemicals, including iron, magnesium and methane gas and he claimed it had made his wife and two children sick.
Following the event, Ruffalo said he'd never expected to become an activist, but after hearing about the issue, he couldn't refuse.
"I can't just stand by and let this happen," he told DNAinfo. "It's time to stand up and say 'No!' to these industries that are poisoning us.
"It's a real poke in the eye to Goliath."
Ruffalo may have had the best delivery, but it was State Sen. Bill Perkins who had the best line of the day.
"Don't frack with our water!" he quipped.