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Protesters stage 'die-in' at DEC building over hydrofracking


By Andrew Carden
Staff writer

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Protesters block the entrance to the DEC building in Albany Thursday to protest the possibility of hydrofracking in New York state.
January 12, 2012
In their latest touting of opposition to hydraulic fracturing or "hydrofracking" in New York State, Occupy Albany protestors staged a symbolic "die-in" at Albany's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) building last Thursday.

Chanting lines like "hey, hey, ho, ho, hydrofracking's got to go" and "they say frack, we say whack," a crowd of about 50 gathered at the building's front entrance, aiming to make their case against the process, which involves the blasting of sand, water and chemicals into the ground to break up rock and release natural gas deposits.

Protestors acted out a scene in which they pretended to drink water, contaminated by hydrofracking fluids, and proceeded to pass out and "die" on the floor, blocking one of the front entrance doors. After five minutes, the protestors "revived" themselves and emerged as "frackingstein" monsters. Within half an hour, most Occupy Albany participants had left the scene.

Pete Looker, a chimney sweeper and member of Occupy Albany, participated in the event. He has studied renewable energy for 40 years and, as opposed to focusing on the further exploitation of fossil fuels, would prefer to see the state invest in wind and solar energy.

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"I don't know of any upstate farmers who think this is a good idea," said Looker, who utilizes solar power to heat his home. "There's just no reason to rush into this."

Likewise, another protestor, Grace Nichols, touted wind power as a safer alternative and offered praise to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his discussion of solar power in his recent State of the State Address.

"I'm very concerned about many aspects of hydrofracking, notably its potential for poorer water quality and even earthquakes," said Nichols, who, for a living, assists people with disabilities. "All of its problems can be illustrated by scientific data, not just by my opinion."

Among the many signs held by protestors were ones which read "R.I.P. Agriculture," "It's a Crime to Poison," "Benzene Means Leukemia" and "Don't Frack with New York."

Occupy Albany, which is built on the examples set by Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together, bills itself as a movement "organized to address critical issues about the nation's economy crisis, consolidation of wealth and power and the ability of citizens to meaningfully participate in a democracy unshackled by the interests of big money."

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  1. print email
    January 13, 2012 | 06:51 PM

    This article makes it seem like the protesters were only at the DEC for half an hour, when we were there for almost two, and then continued on at 677 Broadway where Chesapeake Energy has an office.

    Collin Thomas
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