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Senate Democratic Conference Holds Public Forum on Hydrofracking

Senate Democratic Conference Holds Public Forum on Hydrofracking

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Published by: New York State Senate Democratic Conference on Apr 25, 2012
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04/25/2012

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 For Immediate Release
: April 25, 2012
Contact
: Gary Ginsburg | garykginsburg@gmail.com | 518-817-6193
Senate Democratic Conference Holds Public Forum on Hydrofracking
(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today held a public forum on hydraulic fracturing alsoknown as
hydrofracking.
The forum was attended by members of the Democratic Conference, as wellas environmental activists, legislators, economists, healthcare professionals and residents from throughoutNew York State. Attendees at today
s forum discussed the issues and concerns about potentialconsequences and impacts of hydrofracking.
The Senate Democratic Conference wants to ensure that before any drilling is allowed to proceed in NewYork, our state
s leaders and residents are well informed about this process and its potential impacts,
 
Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson
said.
As legislators we have a responsibility to makeinformed decisions and base our actions on facts instead of wishful thinking or alarmist rhetoric.
 Hydraulic fracturing has come under criticism as potentially hazardous to ground water supplies and as apossible cause to increased seismic activity. The hydrofracking process combines a series of chemicalswith water and injects the mixture at high speeds into the ground in an attempt to extract natural gas.Currently there is no hydraulic drilling in New York, and today
s forum provided the opportunity forexperts and area residents to discuss hydrofracking and its potential long-term impacts on the state.The Senate Democrats had asked for a public hearing to be held, but the Senate Republican Majorityrejected that request.However, Senators may organize a public forum on proposed or pending legislation,and one of the bills discussed at the forum was Senate bill S.2697-A, sponsored by Senator Tony Avella.This bill, once enacted, will ensure that before any natural gas development practices are implemented,they will be deemed sustainable, safe and properly regulated.
Before we allow companies to drill for natural gas in our state, we must understand how this process willimpact New Yorkers lives and health,
 
bill sponsor
 
Senator Tony Avella
said.
We have an obligationto put the health and safety of our state
s residents ahead of the desire for short-term financial gain. Thisbill ensures that generations of New Yorkers will grow up in a state that retains its natural beauty andresources and only allows hydrofracking that is safe and properly regulated.
 
This is a simple issue when you talk about it in plain English,
 
Senator Liz Krueger
said.
Thesecompanies want to come into our state, pump poisonous chemicals into the ground underneath our homesand our farmland, and then leave with a tidy profit and no liability. The available science, the results inPennsylvania and Ohio, and common sense all produce the same conclusion: hydrofracking is adangerously bad idea that could poison our water and air and cripple our state
s agriculture.
 
Hydrofracking proponents are trying to force approval and implementation of hydraulic fracturing in anelection year rush with promises of economic revitalization, promises not borne out by the experience of other states and with no due consideration of the potentially devastating costs,
 
Senator VelmanetteMontgomery
said.
Hydraulic fracturing is serious business that also has serious side effects that could
 
be damaging to our health and the overall vitality of our State. I am proud to join with my Democraticcolleagues in announcing a comprehensive agenda to better inform New Yorkers of the possible healthrisks associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Adoption of our legislative agenda is the ethical,prudent, and responsible course of action.
 
I am pleased that this forum will provide residents and localities the opportunity to publically air theirconcerns about hydrofracking,
 
Senator Suzi Oppenheimer
said.
It is hard for me to imagine a morequintessentially local decision than whether to permit this type of industrial activity within a town orvillage
s boundaries. That is why I sponsor legislation to codify the right, upheld by courts, formunicipalities to determine for themselves whether hydrofracking is permissible under their own localland use laws.
 
The risks posed by hydrofracking are too great and the information available about this dangerousprocess too little, for New York State to allow hydrofracking to move forward.
 
Senator AdrianoEspaillat
said.
That
s why we have sponsored legislation cracking down on hydrofracking and why wemust continue to place the health and well-being of New Yorkers over profits for the oil and natural gasindustry.
 
The natural gas-rich regions of our state are badly in need of jobs and economic opportunity, buthydrofracking is a short-term solution to a long-term problem,
 
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky
said.
Poisoning our state, from Buffalo to Montauk, will cause far more problems than it solves. I haveopposed hydrofracking at every opportunity, and will continue to do so. Our health, our water, and oursafety are too valuable to sell off for a few years of corporate profits.
 
Martha Robertson, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature
, said,
I applaud the DemocraticConference and Senator Avella
s leadership on hydrofracking and their determination not to let it beignored. In contrast, the Republican Senate leadership apparently will not bring any of these bills to theEnCon Committee even for consideration or to the Senate floor for a vote. We have been lobbying Albanyabout hydrofracking for years only to run into state leaders passing the buck and telling us to wait on theDEC review process. There is a high likelihood that the DEC will begin issuing permits before January2013, so the next two months is the time for the Legislature to act or risk becoming irrelevant altogetheron this issue. Once permitting begins, it will be much harder to exert legislative oversight. I call on theSenate Republicans to not allow the Legislature to abdicate its responsibility to debate and create policyon one of the most critical issues facing New York State.
 
David Brain, on behalf of New Yorkers Against Fracking
, said,
Fracking would be the greatestenvironmental disaster in New York 
s history, and Governor Cuomo needs to realize that if he breaks it,he owns it. A decisive and growing body of science, as well as countless instances of water contaminationand health disasters, shows that fracking cannot be done without sacrificing our health, economy, andenvironment, and an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers across the state want a ban.
 
Dr. Larysa Dyrszka, M.D.
, said,
Despite requests to study health impacts from many medicalprofessionals across the state, including the American Academy of Pediatrics of New York State, theMedical Society of the State of New York, the NYS Nurses Association the NYS Chapter of theAcademy of Family Physicians, the University of Rochester Medical Center and Healthy SchoolsNetwork, a Health Impact Assessment of gas activities was not included in the budget. Such an HIAprocess would have addressed how gas drilling might impact the people of New York State, especially themost vulnerable. Senator Avella
s S.6772 HIA bill fills that glaring omission.
 

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