But in recent months, they’ve found something to agree on: That the drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking,” shouldn’t be allowed in New York State. So is it fair to say that they’ve “come together” over the issue?
“Well yeah, of course,” Ono told FORBES before an anti-fracking gala in New York last weekend. “I mean, he’s very intelligent. Look, we know each other from the 60s, so it’s like family, really.”
McCartney wasn’t present at the event, hosted by ABC Carpet & Home in Manhattan’s Flatiron district to celebrate the launch of “Imagine No Fracking,” an installation created by Ono and displayed in the store’s Windows.
But Ono still had plenty of musical support on hand, thanks to performances by Rufus Wainwright, Sara Bareilles and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Other big names, including Deepak Chopra and Adrian Grenier, were also in attendance.
“We’re doing this for the whole world, in a way,” Ono said. “It’s not just New York State. Of course, New York State is very important to me. So we’re going to stick to it.”
After the musical performances, Ono took the stage and explained her experiences in Pennsylvania, where she traveled to see the effects of fracking in person (as did Susan Sarandon, who was also at the event).
Ono spoke of brown drinking water, hazardous chemicals and broken promises of employment for locals, saying that energy companies largely bring in specialists from other states to do the work.
“They all come from Texas with the company,” she said. “It’s logical. They have to be very professional about it. The local people don’t know anything about it, so they can’t really be hired.”
Ono, who keeps a home in upstate New York, has been among the most vocal opponents of the drilling practice. Along with her son, Sean Ono Lennon, she helped launch Artists Against Fracking last summer, which now counts some 200 artists as members.
Proponents of fracking have cited job creation as a major reason to allow the technique in New York’s economically-depressed Southern Tier.
They also point to natural gas—the substance extracted through fracking—as a cleaner alternative to coal, and a means of bringing the U.S. closer to energy independence.
Governor Mario Cuomo has been weighing whether or not to allow fracking in New York State for two years. A decision could come soon, hence Ono’s installation at ABC.
Ono believes Cuomo and other Albany politicians will eventually come to see her side of the issue–and ban fracking once and for all.
“It’s so clear, obvious and logical,” she says. “The thing is, it’s dangerous for their health, too.”
Zack O'Malley Greenburg