By Olivia Scheck
"The Kids Are All Right" star has been an ardent activist against the drilling practice, which injects chemicals into the earth to extract natural gases from irregularly shaped wells.
His efforts paid off last week, when Gov. David Paterson issued an executive order banning horizontal hydrofracking until July 1, 2011 at the earliest, so that further research could be done into the potential dangers of the drilling method.
"You don't take your daughter to the red light district just because times are tough," Ruffalo said, applauding the governor's decision to protect the long-term viability of the water supply. "You make sure what you're doing is safe and then you make money on it."
But Ruffalo and other activists also argued that Paterson's order didn't go far enough, saying it left the door open for vertical hydrofracking, which the governor's office says is a traditional drilling method that has been used safely in the state for 40 years.
Ruffalo and officials including State Sen. Liz Krueger warned Monday that either method could contaminate the water of 12 million out of 19 million New Yorkers.
"This wouldn't be a little problem, this would be a catastrophe," Krueger said.
On the same day that Paterson gave the executive order temporarily banning horizontal hydrofracking, the governor vetoed a more expansive drilling bill, which he said would have prevented any new drilling permits from being issued through May 15th, 2011.
Still, Ruffalo indicated that he was holding out hope that the governor would issue a second executive order during his last days in office to close what he called the "Paterson Loophole."
He and others said they were scheduled to meet with one of the governor's aides following the press event.
"He's got a good heart," the actor said of the outgoing governor.