Jodi and Jeff Andrysick are wife and husband farmers-turned-filmmakers from Pulteney, New York. They own a 12-acre organic nut, berry and fruit farm and were building a farm store when fracking hit New York. Worried that fracking would ruin upstate New York’s prized tourism, wine and farming industries, and destroy the state’s pristine natural beauty, they stopped their store’s construction and divested their life savings toward fighting the fracking frenzy. After realizing that the same people seemed to be involved in the anti-fracking loop and that the public was still vastly uninformed, Jodi and Jeff decided to focus on producing films. They believed a film about fracking would be the best way to rally people to create a public outcry.
New York currently has high-volume hydofracking banned while the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reviews pending regulations. Jodi and Jeff hope that their films will create enough public pressure to force Governor Cuomo and the DEC to be as strict as possible. They want communities to have the power to ban fracking in their areas (Syracuse and Albany have already done so) and have had their own success in keeping the fracking process away from their home. When Chesapeake Energy Corporation wanted to dump a billion gallons of toxic fracking fluid wastewater near Pulteney and neighboring Keuka Lake, they led a community rebellion on Superbowl Sunday in resistance. Enough citizens showed up for Chesapeake Energy to revoke their permit application to dump at that site.
Jodi and Jeff have also hosted three public informational events to educate people about fracking’s effects. One event, held on their property this past summer, brought speakers and experts to teach attendees how to organize others in the fight. Their “EPIC No Frack Event” at Ithaca College combined music and environmental film screenings to get more college-aged youth involved. Because of their extensive efforts, the couple have gone over $15,000 in debt. Their conviction that fracking would spoil their beloved home state, however, pushes them to continue. They believe the money they’re spending on preventing fracking is only a portion of the eventual costs to residents should fracking boom. Jeff states:
These are tough times, and farmers shouldn‘t have their pockets picked by the gas industry, which only gives them a fraction of what their gas is worth while jeopardizing their and their neighbors‘ water supply and property values.
In addition, they point out in their second documentary “Water Isn’t Water Anymore” that the chemicals used in fracking fluid are illegal in warfare under the Geneva Convention. So then, how is it permissible to use them near people‘s homes?
When Jodi and Jeff aren’t putting all efforts into fighting fracking mayhem, they are building sustainable, efficient buildings and homes. Using off-grid electricity such as wind power and solar panels along with locally-sourced materials, they create unique, insulated straw bale/cargo shipping container structures (cool!). This couple is certainly all about taking matters of change into their own hands, and I admire that. They have a YouTube channel where you can watch most of their film “Water Isn’t Water Anymore”. Also, check out their website to order their first film, “All Fracked Up” and learn more about what they’re doing.
Let’s all hope enough public pressure will influence the NY Governor and Department of Environmental Conservation’s fracking decisions in 2012. Stay tuned…