VESTAL, N.Y. —
Their cause is amplified by an extensive coalition — including deep-pocketed environmental groups, New York City lawyers, organic farmers, doctors, paid professional activists and celebrities — that has waged a relentless campaign urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking. The Democratic governor continues to delay his decision, leaving drillers and landowners with leases in limbo since 2008. That’s when the state launched a study of the environmental impact of fracking, which frees gas from shale a mile or so underground by injecting chemically treated water and sand into a horizontal well bore.
While Rapp and Scroggins are among the more visible of the grassroots fracking foes, their motivations and personal styles are different.
“I don’t have a political agenda. I just want to preserve the quality of life for myself and my neighbors,” Rapp said as she had lunch with Scroggins at the Vestal Diner.
Rapp is a leader in the so-called “home rule” movement, which has led more than 100 communities to enact bans or moratoriums against fracking. The gas industry has challenged the legality of such bans but has lost two cases which it plans to appeal to the state’s highest court.
Rapp devotes her free time to organizing letter-writing campaigns to the governor, gat in stride. Rolling slowly down the road, she waved and smiled at a woman glowering in a front yard. “She hates me,” Scroggins said.