Ben Bradford of WFAE Wins First Murrow Award

Check out my interview with Raleigh NPR broadcaster Ben Bradford who won his first award at the Edward Murrow Awards Ceremony for his piece entitled “Moral Mondays.” His segment told the story behind the North Carolina civil disobedience protests in response to issues within the government including: unfair treatment, discrimination, and adverse effects of government legislation. These protests launched a grassroots social justice movement that is currently spreading through Georgia and South Carolina.

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Global Frackdown Comes To Long Island

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200 events, 20 countries, one mission: to ban fracking. October 19th marked the second annual Global Frackdown, a day dedicated to rallying against the production of LNG, liquified natural gas. Over 100 Long Island citizens gathered on Long Beach boardwalk to take part in the global event.

The objective of the Frackdown was to educate local citizens about the effects of fracking and the projected construction of the Port Ambrose Offshore LNG Terminal.  Protesters pushed for signatures petitioning Governor Cuomo to terminate the proposal of a natural gas terminal that would be located 19 miles off shore.

Nassau County Legislator, Dave Denenberg commenced the rally with a speech on climate. As an environmental lawyer Denenberg believes there is firm evidence that global warming is in direct correlation with fracking.

“Fracking is a menace to our local environment and all of us, while the benefit is huge profit for only a select few,” said Dedenberg. “Fracking is not our answer.”

Dedenberg is currently in his seventh term representing the 19th district of Nassau County. He, and other local government members, have been working together to put a halt to this type of energy production and transition to “greener” technologies such as wind and solar power.

“I think Dave Denenberg got it exactly right,” said Adrienne Esposito the Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment who also spoke at the rally. “He said we can no longer rely on foreign fossil fuels, and we have to rely more on renewable energies. And that is in fact what Long Islanders are asking for.”

Denenberg was not the only New York politician to speak at the Frackdown. Harvey Weisenberg, New York State Assemblyman for the past 25 years, expressed why he votes in opposition to fracking.

“We are not going to take a chance to diminish the health and safety of our people by having people making dollars on a practice that might be detrimental,” said Weisenberg.

Weisenberg said it would take a significant amount of evidence to make him change his mind on fracking when he it comes to his action on the Legislative floor.

The Global Frackdown event was hosted by Food & Water Watch, a non-governmental organization and consumer rights group based in Washington D.C. Volunteers and representatives from this watchdog group had a strong presence at the event and voiced their concerns for what they believe fracking does to the environment.

“Fracking is exactly what is causing the climate change,” said Bill Coddington a two year volunteer for Food & Water Watch. “That’s what causes storms that we experience.”

Other volunteers from Food & Water Watch recently went to Dimock, Pennsylvania, the core state for fracking, to gain research on the effects. A bus of forty anti-fracking activists spent nine hours in the town observing the condition of the environment.

“We toured farms that were no longer farms, people had no homes, or clean water.” said Neil Leiberman a Health and Physical Education Teacher in Brooklyn New York for the past 18 years. “We all observed a dead cow laying on it’s side. This was the result of fracking.”

No scientific reports have been made from this excursion, but many activists used their observations as talking points for anti-fracking conversations at the rally.

Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer for Food and Water Watch, who organized the protests believed the Global Frackdown was a success.

“It was a powerful expression of Long Islander’s opposition to fracking and to the proposed LNG facility,” said Weltman. “It sent a loud and clear message to Governor Cuomo to stand up to the oil and gas industry and protect New York’s health, communities, and environment.”

Whether or not action will be taken to ban fracking in New York as a result of the Global Frackdown protests  is unknown. Governor Cuomo is set to make his decision in regards to the construction of the Port Ambrose Offshore LNG Terminal before the 2014 election. Until then, anti-fracking activists will continue to voice their opposition in the upcoming months.