Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Elmira/Corning

Local leaders express fracking concerns

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Local leaders express fracking concerns
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Two Southern Tier mayors went to the Capitol Tuesday to voice their concerns with what they think is a serious environmental issue for the state. As our Elyse Mickalonis explains, the mayors of Binghamton and Elmira are part of a statewide group made up of local officials who are all on the same page about natural gas drilling.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan isn't shy about his opinion on hydraulic fracturing.

"I, quite frankly, don’t think we’ll ever be ready for this industry and we should go a different direction,” said Ryan.

Ryan took that opinion to the Capitol Tuesday as part of Elected Officials to Protect New York. It’s a group made up of over 525 members from 61 counties across the state. He and Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore are just two of several local leaders who believe natural gas drilling would result in too many negative socio-economic impacts.

"We’ve been promised 10 to 15 years of drilling and it’s not even been three and they’ve vacated the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania,” said Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore. “Now all these businesses that opened hired people, they now have no traffic, so now they’re laying off."

While proponents of hydrofracking tout the economic potential it could have on the region, the mayors say the most important thing is to make sure that fracking won't ruin quality of life for residents, if it’s approved.

"We've seen other states be guinea pigs,” said Ryan. “We've seen gaps in data especially concerning medical impacts. They're just starting to study this stuff. We don't want to be guinea pigs for the rest of this country for this industry."

Skidmore added, "If it's going to come it has to be safe, it has to have quality air, water. Out infrastructure has to remain intact. We have to protect the people, have places for them to live and make our neighborhoods safe."

Demands for more research that these leaders hope the governor will hear before fracking is allowed in their area or in the state.

Elected Officials to Protect New York wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo in June, saying more research needs to be done before fracking can be allowed.

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