“What the Frack” with Alec Baldwin Brings Out Several Hundred Anti-fracking Activists and Central New York State Residents

Alec Baldwin hosted a film screening and panel on the environmental and health dangers of hydrofracking in Syracuse on Saturday, June 2

Syracuse, NY. : Emmy award winning actor and 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin hosted “What the Frack” this past Saturday at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse. The event featured a viewing of Gasland, the 2010 Academy Award-nominated documentary by Josh Fox, and a panel of speakers that included the well-known biologist and advocate Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Dr. Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University, and Kate Hudson of Riverkeeper.

Hydrofacking supporters argue that the extraction of natural gas will bring jobs and economic growth to the region, but opponents warn that there will be devastating consequences. “In New York right now, the Governor, the legislature, and everybody is talking jobs, jobs jobs. And they’re going to come here, and they’re going to decimate this area. A lot of the money is going to leave this area and go with the technical expertise down to Louisiana [and] Texas… It is not going to lower the price of energy in the United States in the long term,” Baldwin argued. “When that decimation is over… [in] an area that is already economically challenged, all of their homes will be worth infinitely less. You will have passed on to the next generation a community that is decimated by this activity.”

“I know that even if they drill and frack my neighbor’s property, or even just one property in my entire neighborhood, my property value would go down, my health would be in danger,” added Josh Fox.

While the three panelists voiced strong opinions about the environmental and health dangers of hydraulic fracturing, the event had also invited others to represent the pro-fracking movement and take questions. “I reached out to many geologists on the pro-fracking side and they declined to participate on the panel for various reasons,” said James Little, a co-organizer for the event.

Although most of the action on fracking in New York State is in the southern part of the state, Syracuse sits above the Utica Shale, which is being explored for opportunities for natural gas extraction. “What people don’t realize is that a lot of focus is on the Marcellus and southern New York State, but people up north are going to be involved in fracking because the Utica Shale is being explored,” said Little. “The Utica Shale is potentially bigger than the Marcellus, and residents who live over the Utica could face the same or even greater risks than those who live over the Marcellus.”

Alec Baldwin is a frequent visitor to Syracuse as his mother, Carol Baldwin, and sisters, Beth and Jane, live in the area. After the event, he spent some time supporting his mother’s breast cancer charity and participating in fundraising events for a local high school.

What the Frack was an educational event about hydraulic fracturing held at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY on Saturday, June 2 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The event was hosted by Alec Baldwin, and featured a viewing of Gasland, a documentary by Josh Fox, and a panel of speakers. Proceeds were contributed to Project Haiti, an initiative to build a LEED platinum orphanage and children’s center in Port au Prince, NYSAFE, and New York for Sustainable Agriculture.

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