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TreeHugger Names Anti-Fracking Activist Sandra Steingraber as Person of the Year

ITHACA, NY — Ecologist and environmental activist Sandra Steingraber has been named as the 2012 TreeHugger Person of the Year. A Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences, Steingraber has dedicated her career to shedding light on the links between cancer and environmental contamination.

TreeHugger is a media outlet that focuses on sustainability news and solutions through its blog, newsletters, radio interviews and social media. Owned by Discovery Communications, it was included in Time Magazine’s list of the top 25 blogs for 2009. Previous TreeHugger Person of the Year recipients have been primate researcher Jane Goodall, climate change activist Tim DeChristopher and oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

According to TreeHugger, Steingraber has channeled her raw emotion stemming from her own experience as a cancer survivor to rise to the forefront of the anti-fracking movement. Fracking is a controversial method of drilling for methane gas in shale by high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

“Working to abolish fracking in New York is part of the larger struggle to free our nation from its ruinous dependency on fossil fuels,” said Steingraber. “It’s the animating issue of our time. It’s an honor to be part of this movement and a thrill to be recognized by TreeHugger for it. And Governor Cuomo, we want you by our side.”

Steingraber has joined with other activists in calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to prohibit fracking in the state, claiming that cancer-causing chemicals are associated with all stages of the process — from the production and use of fracking fluids to the release of radioactive and other naturally hazardous materials from the shale to transportation- and drilling-related air pollution to the disposal of contaminated wastewater.

She is featured in the documentary film “Dear Governor Cuomo,” and helped create a website, 30 Days of Fracking Regs, which provides information to help citizens craft comments to the State Department of Environmental Conservation on draft regulations for fracking.

Steingraber’s books include “Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment” and “Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood.” In 2011 she received the Heinz Award, given for significant achievements benefitting the environment, from the Heinz Family Foundation. Other honors include the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, the Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.

For more information on TreeHugger, visit For more information on Steingraber, visit She can be contacted at