Yoko Ono, surrounded by boxes of letters written to protest fracking in New York State, speaks at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2013. (Photo: Nathaniel Brooks / The New York Times)
“Governor Cuomo: Imagine There’s no Fracking,” read a billboard on the Major Deegan Expressway into Manhattan last October. One of the motorists who saw it may well have been Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been under increasing pressure from New York state residents to ban the shale gas extraction method known as “fracking.” The billboard was the first action by Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon’s advocacy coalition Artists Against Fracking, which boasts nearly 200 famous members ranging from Salman Rushdie to Lady Gaga.
What spurred mother and son to organize artists like themselves was the threat to their Delaware County farm that sits atop the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation geologists estimate holds trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. “I have always felt lucky,” Lennon wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times, “to live on land [my father] loved dearly.” Sean Lennon’s father was, of course, the legendary musician and former Beatle John Lennon, not the first city resident to want a rural escape.
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