As concerns about changes in federal environmental policies continue to garner headlines, advocates sponsored an “Earth Rally” Saturday at Allegany State Park.
The goal was to raise awareness about issues that include fracking, pollution and the possibility that the Environmental Protection Agency could be defunded. Advocates said they hope the event will empower people to protest some presidential executive orders and fight what they view as an effort to boost the profits of big business at the expense of the environment.
The Southern Tier Activists for Peace and Equality of Olean coordinating the event that was held in the Red House Area of Allegany State Park. Organizer Megan Zampogna told WBFO environmental issues impact all residents.
“We all drink the same water. We all breathe the same air. For anyone to pretend that these decisions that the administration is taking don’t affect you they’re just burying their head in the sand. It affects everybody.”
But do rallies of this nature make any difference when it comes to impacting policies?
“I think they do for a couple of reasons,” Zamogna replied. “They bring people together and let them know they are not alone -- that there are other people interested in this. I think they can help give people specific directions and actions to take. Also the elected officials, if it’s big enough, will take notice of it, and it’s just letting them know what the people that elected them want.”
Several speakers were expected to be featured during the Earth Rally. Musicians representing various genres were also scheduled to perform, including a classic rock band, an acoustic musician and a group that performs Native songs.