TGF was in the vanguard of the fight against allowing drillers to use horizontal hydrofracking in New York State. “Hydrofracking,” or “fracking,” refers to the industrial activity of natural gas development using the technique of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. TGF helped to mobilize opposition to the practice.
Alarmed by environmental devastation occurring just over the border in Pennsylvania, TGF partnered with other organizations to identify the unique natural resources, small hamlets, distinctive economic bases, and rural quality of the Catskills that are central elements in shaping the character of this well-recognized fly-fishing region and that needed protection.
TGF authored a strong critique of the regulations proposed by New York State and lent its support to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s FRAC Act, which would have required drillers to reveal the chemicals used to perform hydraulic fracturing. And TGF was active in the courts. Via a “friend of the court” brief, TGF, along, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper, and a number of other concerned organizations supported the efforts of munici- palities in New York to ban industrial activities such as hydrofracking in their communities. New York’s highest court ruled that indeed, local citizens have the right to pass and enforce local fracking bans. The court’s ruling, which was decided in July 2014, paved the way for an eventual statewide ban by adding to the growing portions of the state of New York that were off- limits to fracking at the time.
Finally, following a review by the New York State Department of Health of fracking’s effects on the environment and human health, in December 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that fracking would be banned out- right in New York State.