November 18, 2009, Corning Leader: Hydrofracking Friction at DEC’s Public Comment Session (VIDEO)

Hydrofracking Friction at DEC’s Public Comment Session (VIDEO)
Katherine Underwood
November 18, 2009
CORNING — As New York looks toward legalizing horizontal gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, people in the Southern Tier community are educating themselves and speaking up.
There are strong opinions on all sides of the controversy and Wednesday night people had a chance to stand up for what they think is right.
More than 500 people came out to the fourth and final public comment session on the Department of Environmental Conservation?s draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or SGEIS, that was released in September.
Not only did residents come out to protest or support hydrofracturing in New York State, but they’re also talking about the DEC?s report.
?This document is inaccurate,? said Wes Gillingham of Livingston Manor. ?There are so many flaws.?
Chris Tate of Hector agrees.
?It considers the impact of one well and that is just ridiculous they want to put thousands and thousands of wells in New York,? he added.
Some people attacked the DEC for what they say are huge gaps in its draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Where will the wastewater go? What about increased traffic and air pollution?
Residents are asking the DEC to slow down and answer those questions.
?There?s a lot of ?mays,? ?we should do this,? ?we could do this,?? Gillingham said. ? We need a definite set of rules and regulations and that’s not what this document is doing.?
But others disagree.
Brad Gill, Executive Director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, says his company has reviewed the DEC?s Statement and it actually puts more regulations on the industry.
?We know for sure that it is extremely comprehensive, and in some cases does concern us, but industry will rise to the occasion.?
Gill says there are a lot more guidelines in this statement than in the one the gas drilling industry has been following since the 1990′s.
Those guidelines, he says, keep drilling safe.
Some people just aren’t convinced.
?We have observational data from every region in country where they have done this and it just poisons the water table,? Tate said.
?When our water is at risk, that is our lifeblood in New York State, it’s the backbone of Upstate New York, of our economy, of our quality of life, of who we are as New Yorkers and we cannot put that at risk,? said Katherine Nadeau with Environmental Advocates of New York.
Paul D?Amato, a DEC Regional Director, could not comment on the public’s concerns because of legal parameters, but did tell us the plans for the months ahead.
?These comments are assisting us in finalizing that document by making sure we?ve looked at everything and we?ve looked at it thoroughly,? he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency is studying the affects of hydraulic fracturing right now.
Wednesday night, residents asked the DEC to wait for those results before finalizing its draft Environmental Impact Statement.
     To read the full draft SGEIS, Click Here.


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