One More Day to Act: Gas Drilling May Begin in New York Soon
Photo Credit: Colleen Boland
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The following is from Sabrina Artel's Trailer Talk: The Frack Talk Marcellus Shale Water Project. You can listen to the entire program here.
Drilling could start as soon as this spring in New York State. Wednesday, January 11 is the deadline for public comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the draft of the SGEIS that would provide the guidelines for industrial gas drilling and frackingthroughout the state. Drilling opponents have outnumbered pro-drillers during the public hearings and the DEC is required to read each letter before they can move forward with a decision.
Letters are being accepted by anyone from the United States and Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy, a volunteer citizens organization based in Sullivan County has sample letters that can be used that address the multiplicity of issues such as, radioactivity, proprietary chemicals, no public health analysis, home rule, conflict of interest and many other concerns regarding the dSGEIS. Congressman Maurice Hincheyjust submitted his letter to the DEC urging a withdrawal of the SGEIS.
Environmental groups, such as Catskill Mountainkeeperare keeping the pressure up on Governor Cuomo, along with a coalition of partners and organized a rally, The State of the State Rally in Albany on January 4, in order to send a message to Cuomo to stop fracking and support a statewide ban on shale gas extraction in NY.
That rally is leading to the Hydro-Fracking Day of Actionin Albany on January 23 that is so far being sponsored by 20 groups throughout NY State.
The movement for either a statewide ban or stringent regulations on fracking and gas drilling in New York is a powerful and unprecedented example of the collaboration between environmental and citizen groups. The gas rich deposits of the Marcellus and Utica shales that stretch across the southern and western parts of upstate New York has become central in the battle to hold off industry and gain control as individual people against the multinational corporations.
The organized stand by residents for their home and community against the oil and gas corporations who have been trying to push forward with shale gas extraction since 2008 has made fracking the number one environmental issue of the year.
The economic challenges faced throughout the region are also palpable and this is precisely why the infiltration of the oil and gas corporations is so disturbing and immoral. This is not a debate about why an individual would want to pay their bills or get out from under debt, but about why anyone should be faced with these destructive choices in the first place. Decisions that can destroy their community and the quality of life and health of their neighbors, by risking the very resources that we need to survive now and into the future.
This audio piece is from the Binghamton and Loch Sheldrake public hearings for the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation), SGEIS (Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement).
This piece includes some of the hundreds of people at the hearings, the anti-fracking rally and press conference in Binghamton on November 17 and people providing their 3-minute comments inside the auditorium, including Julia Walsh of FRACK ACTION. This is followed by some of the hundreds of people in Loch Sheldrake on November 29, both for and against drilling, including Tom Shepstone the Northeast Campaign Director for Energy in Depth, an industry backed pro-drilling and fracking advocacy group; a representative from Chesapeake Energy Corporation; Ramsay Adams the director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, an environmental advocacy group fighting fracking and unsafe shale gas extraction in the Catskills of NY; Barbara Arrindell, director of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability(PA and the Delaware River Basin of PA and NY) and others. (More information on how to submit a comment is at the end of the story.)