Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Rally outside of fracking conference

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Rally outside of fracking conference
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Less than a week after the DEC asked for a 90-day extension on setting guidelines for hydraulic fracturing, the New York State Petroleum Council held a dinner forum for local leaders in Binghamton to talk about about the benefits of fracking. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, it wasn't a one sided conversation.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It’s an argument that’s been going on for years now: Should hydrofracking come to New York State?

“It’s not good for the environment, it’s not good for public health, but then they come in with all these promises of economic development,” said Chris Burger, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Collation Chair.

Protestors gathered Monday night to raise their concerns about fracking, right outside of a natural gas forum and dinner at downtown’s Holiday Inn. The event focused on showing local leaders how the area could benefit from hydrofracking.

“One of the things that came out when the DEC released its revised regulations is a summary document that affirms the jobs numbers,” said Karen Moreau, NYS Petroleum Council Executive Director. “We’re looking at 25,000 direct jobs that can be created from drilling and exploration in the Southern Tier.”

Earlier on Monday, Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan voiced his concerns about fracking in Albany, concerns he echoed over dinner back in Binghamton.

“I think everyone would agree the most important part about this is public health. And all of a sudden they want to push this through without more time and we’ve asked for more time,” said Matt Ryan, (D) Binghamton Mayor.

While New York State Petroleum Council members say they feel the industry has been studied enough, protesters continue to push for more research.

"It's important we cut through the hype the gas industry is laying out for our public officials. They're here to influence our public officials and convince them that the risks from fracking are worth it, because of economic development,” said Burger.

Moreau added, "This has been researched now for four years and it's been looked at from every angle. There has been the Department of Health involved from the beginning and as you may know they're doing an additional level of review on top of the original review just to give the public more assurance."

With the DEC’s 90-day extension on a rule making deadline, New Yorkers will have to wait a while longer to find out whether or not fracking will take place.

The extension filed by the DEC includes a 30 day public comment period on a revised draft.

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