Food & Water Watch’s blueprint for winning combines a persistent focus on key decision-makers with tactics that energize and engage activists and allies. Last December, years of tenacious organizing culminated with Governor Cuomo’s announcement of a historic ban on fracking in New York.
Yet New York continues to face a massive build-out of infrastructure to transport fracked gas, including pipelines and compressor stations. These facilities could lock the state into further reliance on dirty fossil fuels, while facilitating overseas exports. One such project was Port Ambrose, a liquefied natural gas port proposed off the coast of New York.
Port Ambrose would have posed a public safety hazard, with the explosive gas risking thousands of lives. It would have threatened ocean ecology, beaches and tourism and fishing industries. Most starkly, Port Ambrose would have blocked a wind power facility proposed for the same location.
Fortunately, Governor Cuomo had the authority to veto Port Ambrose, as did Governor Christie of New Jersey, because of the project’s proximity to the coasts of both states.
As with the campaign against fracking, Food & Water Watch honed in on our target, Governor Cuomo, mobilizing early and often to encourage him to stop the project.
In October 2013, we held a rally on the boardwalk in Long Beach, a Long Island community hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, bringing together hundreds of people, along with elected officials and faith leaders. We came back the next year with even more people.
We worked with a broad coalition of organizations, repeatedly packing hearings, generating tens of thousands of petitions and public comments, and publishing letters to the editor and op-ed pieces.
And we made it clear that Governor Cuomo could continue to blaze a path as a climate leader by vetoing Port Ambrose.
Less than a week after the official window of opportunity for the veto opened, Food & Water Watch and our allies, along with hundreds of local residents, celebrated our victory at the Long Beach recreation center when Governor Cuomo signed the veto of Port Ambrose.
Thanks to everyone who made this victory possible. The No LNG Coalition was comprised of dozens of grassroots, regional and national organizations, including Catskill Mountainkeeper, United for Action, Sane Energy Project, Environmental Action, Surfrider, Clean Ocean Action, South Shore Audubon Society, NYPIRG, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, and All Our Energy.
It took years of hard work and many, many voices, but our strategy paid off – and we’re using the same blueprint to win fracking bans and block fracking infrastructure from Florida to California. Slowly but surely, we’re working towards banning fracking everywhere.