|Catskill Mountainkeeper |
June 23, 2010
|JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Maura Stephens, Coalition to
Protect New York, 607-351-3766
Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper, 845-901-1029
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Broad Coalition Forms to Protect New York from Dangers of Fracking
On June 19, nearly 140
individuals and representatives from 60 grassroots, regional, and
national organizations in four states gathered in Binghamton to share
information on legal, scientific, economic, policy, health, and family
issues related to hydraulic fracturing for methane gas, or "fracking."
Participants in the Coalition to Protect New York are unified by
knowledge of the extensive evidence that gas drilling and hydraulic
fracturing with toxic chemicals harm water supplies, property values,
community infrastructure, the environment, and human health.
At the gathering, people from neighboring states who are living with
dire consequences of this process gave testimony, urging New Yorkers to
halt fracking and avoid problems that have arisen nationwide. The
practice hasn't yet been permitted in New York, and two different bills
are currently before the state legislature that would impose a
moratorium while certain stipulations are met.
"Many organizations statewide have developed expertise and made great
strides; by working together, we can achieve even more in educating the
public, assisting landowners, and fostering sound public policies," said
Jack Ossont of Yates County, an event organizer. "We need to stop the
rush to drill, which would endanger communities across New York." He
lauded the many volunteers who labored to convene the statewide summit.
Workshops were led by experts from around New York and as far as West
Virginia. Keynote speakers were Anthony Ingraffea, Professor of
Engineering at Cornell University; Wes Gillingham, Program Director at
Catskill Mountainkeeper; and Julia Walsh, founder of FrackAction.org.
Weston Wilson, a retired whistleblowing U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency engineer, paid a surprise visit. In 2004, an EPA study declared
that hydraulic fracturing poses no threat to drinking water-a conclusion
Mr. Weston and others contend is scientifically unsound and resulted
from Bush administration pressure to omit critical data. The study
greatly contributed to exemption of the gas industry from Safe Drinking
Water Act requirements to disclose the toxic chemicals used in hydraulic
U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-22nd District) was another surprise
visitor; he encouraged strong oversight of the gas industry and
protections for communities, including through passage of the FRAC Act.
The bill, which Mr. Hinchey introduced, would require disclosure of the
many toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and give the EPA
authority to regulate the process.
"We all came to Binghamton with the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in
mind, and the commitment to preventing such tragic events from ever
happening in New York," said Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper.
"Today's gathering signifies a new phase of collaboration and
effectiveness in ensuring that the gas industry doesn't continue to
degrade quality of life across the Marcellus Shale region."
Maura Stephens of Tioga County, another event organizer, said, "We don't
blame people who have signed leases. Gas companies don't reveal the
potential frightening consequences. But now we know, and we owe it to
everyone to share this information. We want to keep our state beautiful,
safe, toxin-free, and livable. Many of us feel we are fighting for our
-- ENDS --
Catskill Mountainkeeper is a member based advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the long-term health of the six counties of the Catskill Region. To become a member of or learn more about Catskill Mountainkeeper, please visit www.catskillmountainkeeper.org.