"We will sit in front of their bulldozers, their monster trucks, their drills, their rigs, their out-of-state corporate roughnecks, and we will confront the face of corporate power," Luster said. "If our government fails to act, we will. We will impose a people's moratorium."
Almost 1000 attend Ithaca meeting [Thursday] about natural gas drilling
Report from WSYR.com includes video footage from the meeting.
Preceding the meeting, protesters drive home anti-gas message: No Way!
By Krisy Gashler •firstname.lastname@example.org
November 19, 2009, 9:35 pm
More than 200 people rallied on The Commons Thursday night to spread their message: 'No way' to unconventional gas drilling in New York.
The two-hour rally immediately preceded a public forum on gas drilling held at the State Theatre and hosted by the Tompkins County Council of Governments.
The plethora of posters ran the gamut from professionally printed and wide-as-a-storefront to small signs clearly made by children. They carried messages such as:
* "Do you want brain damage, birth defects and cancer? Stop fracking"
* "Gov. Paterson and DEC: is it OK to poison upstate water but not NYC water?"
* "Alternative Energy? Yes! Alternative fresh water??"
Advocates of gas drilling argue that horizontal drilling into the Marcellus Shale -- the huge geological formation running under the Southern Tier of New York, Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio and West Virginia -- could provide a much-needed financial boost to the state and its rural landowners, and provide a home-grown source of energy that would help make the U.S. less dependent on foreign fossil fuels.
Detractors argue it could harm tourism and farming and pollute aquifers. They promote conservation and aggressive development of alternative energy.
Rally speakers included elected officials, environmental advocates, scientists, youth, and a landowner from Dimock, Pa., where gas drilling in the past year has been connected to well-water contamination.
Sam Bobertz, a 15-year-old student at Northern Lights Learning Center home school cooperative in Trumansburg, spoke for the 12 students in his class who have done a special project to study hydraulic fracturing -- called "fracking" -- the process used to fracture the rock formation and release potentially huge pockets of natural gas.
"There's nothing natural about what they plan to do to the Earth," Bobertz said. "We are young but we get it. Now we need the adults who are in power to get it."
In one of the loudest applause moments of the night, former state assemblyman Marty Luster called on the state to enact a moratorium on gas drilling until all environmental questions are answered."We will sit in front of their bulldozers, their monster trucks, their drills, their rigs, their out-of-state corporate roughnecks, and we will confront the face of corporate power," Luster said. "If our government fails to act, we will. We will impose a people's moratorium."
Current Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-125th, said she plans to introduce a bill that would hold gas companies strictly liable, making it easier for people to sue if their properties are contaminated by drilling activities.
"The gas companies say it's safe, the DEC says it's safe . . . no problem," she said sarcastically. "There should be no lobbying on that matter."
Environmental attorney Helen Slottje criticized the DEC's environmental regulations. For example, pits of waste fluid from hydraulic fracturing of the gas-laden rock can be left open with nothing to prevent birds from drinking it, she said.
"The wildlife that flies through here is supposed to be able to look at that and say, 'Oh, that's not a pond, that's a fracking pit,'" she said.
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.
Report from WENY.com includes video footage from the meeting.
Hundreds crowded the auditorium at Corning East High School, and dozens spoke passionately about their concerns. Many drew loud applause as others held up signs protesting the impending drilling boom in the Southern Tier, television cameras rolled and police officers watched.
Many in attendance claimed the regulations weren’t nearly stringent enough.
“Given the toxicity of the chemicals used in this process and the many devastating cases of contamination we have seen around the country as a result of operator errors, there is full justification for substantial oversight and strong guidelines regulating this activity,” [a statement by U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-Corning] said. “Currently, however, the incomprehensive regulatory framework in (the proposed regulations), along with insufficient enforcement capabilities, is inadequate to prevent catastrophes similar to those across the border in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.”