Just my Thoughts · Politics

EPA Hearing Feelings

The people in upstate NY that live over the Marcellus shale formation should be happy that the EPA has chosen to hold a hearing in Binghamton, NY.  I realize that this issue is dividing our communities but I also think that public hearings should not be forums for long political speeches.

The current rules are such that each speaker has two minutes to speak.  The first four hour session had 123 speakers lined up.  This is too many for two minutes each.  Congressman Maurice Hinchey is the finally speaker.  I believe he held the main podium – not the podium where the average citizen is to speak from – for approximately 10 minutes.  This means that four of his constituents did not get to speak because he chose to run over his two minute time limit.

I will most likely add to this as the 16 hours of hearing continues.


A few resources that I discovered during the first four hours of the EPA hearing are that you can follow comments on Twitter by following the hash tag #epahearing.  Innovation Trail is live blogging from the hearing at http://innovationtrail.org/content/live-blogging-binghamton-epa-hearing.  Both the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and the Elmira Star Gazette are streaming a live feed.  The feed does occasionally go down but they are very good about getting it back up as quickly as possible.

Here are notes I took and tweeted during the first four hour block.  The speakers seemed about evenly divided between those for and those against fracking.

Can’t politicians follow the same rules the rest of us have to follow? – Representative Maurice Hinchey stood at main podium and took about 10 minutes, though it seemed longer.

Representative Arcuri makes a point that EPA and environmental agencies need to know the chemicals used in fracking.

Broome County Exec Barbara Fiala says county gov’t believes fracking is safe if properly regulated. Fiala also hopes study done in timely manner.

Petroleum engineer from Madison Cty, David Keif (?), says in years of work with hydraulic fracking, he has no knowledge of ground H2O being contaminated.

Tompkins County legislature chair says H2O contamination is contamination whether from leak, trucking accident or whatever.

Steven Palmitier from Chenango Cty asks that all interested parties be kept up to date on EPA process.

Rural towns being overwhelmed with processes needed to protect residents, not budgeted for costs.

No cases of contaminated ground water in NY from fracking which is how over 90% of wells in NY are drilled.

To see the effects of processes, look where the processes have already been in use.  Statement from woman with Damascus Citizens for Sustainablity (I think that is the name of the group).

Isaac Walton League voted to back a moratorium on new hydraulic fracking permits.  Isaac Walton League also questions cumulative effects of creating access roads and additional runoff.

Many speakers have mentioned the understaffing at NYS DEC and that this will impact DEC’s ability to regulate fracking.

Dr Dan Brown, Animal Science at Cornell, “dose makes the toxin” so MUST have what chemicals are used and in quantities  Brown also suggests looks at how toxins will go into food sources from animals.

Air pollution, which is already an issue in NYS with ozone alerts, should be considered in studies by EPA.

Jackie Root, Tioga PA, says she & husband stewards of land. Wants to know likelihood of H2O contamination.

Hydraulic fracking is inherently dangerous. If we understood this, we would not be fracking before study is done.

Speaker asks EPA to remove bias from their web site and literature.

Disposal of waste fluids is being an complicated problem, according to Halliburton.

Stein, insurer for gas industry in NY & PA: if water contamination via sub-surface migration was prevalent, would be more claims.

People generally do not get sick right away. Takes generations. Elmer Ewing of Shaleshock

Did Danby bus people in for the hearing? Lots of speakers from Danby, NY.

Compell companies to reveal what is in fracking fluids. Do not just ask for them to reveal.

Water contamination feared to undermine economy. NYS can’t take more hits to its economy.

1,000 gas wells within city limits of Fort Worth. Good area to study for health issues.

River Keeper organization released report today regarding ground H2O contamination.

Hydrogeologist John Conrad says confident hydrofracking can be done safely under current regulations.  Conrad also says use this as an opportunity to educate and inform.

Methane often occurs naturally in ground H2O in shale formation areas.

Being scared makes adults/big people gullible.

Northeast does not currently have the capacity to clean the flowback fluids or brine from hydrofracking.

Surface waters our life in NYS. Can’t afford to contaminate it.

Erosion on property in town of Horseheads is brought up by landowner.

Who has the greater stake in protecting our lands: the landowner or MoveOn.org?

Life is water. Water is life.

League of Women Voters requests EPA widen study, including transport of chemicals for fracking.

Methane has 72 times potency over CO2 over 20 years.

NYS could, again, be the bread basket of the Northeast. This could change with hydraulic fracking.

Only way to keep water safe is to keep control local.

Partnering with industry sheds doubt on the study.

Dr Charles Carpenter, retired: based on science, hydraulic fracturing does not contaminate water.

Be sure to study all the processes that are involved – both before and after gas extraction.

Speaker asks EPA to start at beginning of drilling for study, not just fracking.

Speaker suggest start case studies in Towanda, PA.

Speaker also says problem is residents of Towanda, PA are scared to speak up.

Not everyone will get to everyone who was scheduled to speak this afternoon at EPA hearing. Apologies from organizer.

Highest priority should be balance of risk versus benefit.

Oil and gas idustry has worked very hard to influence scientists and the public. -Lisa Wright

Did I hear 2 speakers say that 1 child dies every 8 seconds from contaminated water? I believe it is a WHO stat.

Think how corporations have behaved in the past. Take tobacco companies and the lies told the public.

Lying of omission by gas companies by refusing to reveal what chemicals are in fracking fluid.

Hydraulic fracturing is not an exact science.

Between 18,000 and 48,000 abandoned wells in NYS which will offer path of least resistance to fracking fluids.

Major concern is water – both amount that needs to be used and contamination of drinking H2O.

Many speakers have asked that entire process be studied, not just frackimg.

Waste water treatment a huge question for fracking.

Need to know effects of chemicals – not just individually but in combination with each other.

Cortland County 50% leased. Sole source aquifer for 80,000 people will be effected by fracking.

What are the current gaps in knowledge, one speaker, from Binghamton Regional Sustainability, asks EPA at hearing.

Deparments of health in NYS do not have the ability to test drinking water for contamination. Study by Ron Bishop from SUNY-Oneonta.

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