Sunday, January 30, 2011

Engelder/Ingraffea debate in Laporte: Video + Editorials in Press+Sun

The video for the Terry Engelder / Tony Ingraffea debate in Laporte PA is now online:
Big thanks to Cris McConkey for the work in editing this!

DVDs will soon be available through Shaleshock and NYRAD.
This will also be presented on Public Access TV in Binghamton.

Two editorials in the PSB:

Attending an Anti Gasser Meeting With An Open Mind
Victor Furman •Reader Submitted • January 15, 2011, 9:25 pm

I and others from Binghamton traveled 3 hours one way on this past Friday night to an event in a town In Sullivan County Pennsylvania where the guest speakers where listed as gas Industry Experts, and Dr. A. Ingraffea and Dr. Engelder, The Sautners from Dimock PA, and Josh Fox who did not show, as it was stated it interfered with Joshs plans to fly to England the next day. "Seems like they would have known this since they announced it was a planed trip and many were there to hear him.

Dr. A. Ingraffea and Dr. Engelder are Both prominent and respected individuals in the field of Hydro Fracturing. I went only after being asked to several times and being assured this was not an anti gas meeting but a public forum designed to educate and give the public some learned knowledge, as to enable the public to make up their own minds concerning issue's over gas drilling.

A mediator started the forum by asking and implying that a few simple considerations be adhered to.

1) Turn your cell phones to vibrate or just turn them off. "said the mediator"
Everybody complied as I heard no phones

2) Josh Fox will not be here tonight. "said the mediator" because he is flying to England in the morning.
He was a main draw for many, How could they not have known this?

3) There are highly respected speakers here on both sides of the debate "said the mediator" Please refrain from making comments and hold your questions until the end of the presentation. At this time I would like to present Dr. Engelder.

I could go on from this point and tell you what I thought of the presentation by Dr. Engelder but I can't because I would talk as a pro gas environmentalist and I did not stay for the entire event in all fairness to Dr. Ingraffea. "Let me explain why"

Well into Dr. Engelder's presentation people in the front row started hollering expletives. Interrupting the presentation and bringing it to a halt.

Dr.Engelder was not there getting paid for his time, but as a service to the community,

I do not blame Dr. Engelder for stating the obnoxiously irate man in the front apparently had more important information then the Dr. himself as he surrendered the microphone to the mediator and ended his presentation. In fact I would like to say Bravo to the Good Dr. Englender for not willing to be a participant in this public display of idiocy imposed on the attending members of the audience, by a few people who were at odds with hearing a side of the gas issue that interfered with their beliefs.

But there is more

Arriving to the meeting place in this small town in PA their were familiar faces to me. No one was disrespectful in fact "just the opposite" and prior to the start of this meeting. I started to ask people in general conversation where they were from and many where community members which I was glad to hear.

It soon became apparent to me that this "was an anti gas meeting" and let me tell you why.

While sitting in the back of the auditorium waiting for the event to start, I was given a paper with the heading Save Our State' on it. I took it and asked what it was for, I was told it was a petition to stop the leasing of state lands. ( I somewhat agree that public lands should not be used for industry of any type but that being said what I was told next floored me)


" sign your name and as many as you can think of and don't worry, we have a team that will be inputting the names on an electronic petition"

Amazing I thought to myself a padded petition ?

The other clue that I was not at a forum for both sides of the drilling issue was the prop in the middle of the stage on a table all by itself

' That all too familiar 1/2 filled gallon bottle of brown water the Sautners carry to most of there events for the last 2.5 years.

When seeing this jug I turned to the person next to me and asked this question,

If they were solids (TDS) in that water jug that has been sitting there on that table for the last two hours, would those solids not have separated and floated to the bottom of the jug by now ? The person asked agreed that they should have.

The lesson I have walked away from here is that education comes in many forms, be it through a single teacher or an entire school itself. But if you attend a forum such as this, the education will be not found in what is said or who says it, but rather in the honesty and presentation of the forum itself. This particular forum in my viewpoint, was a lie to start with that sucked many people into it with the hopes of hearing a responsible view and overlook at gas drilling but instead got more of the same. It would be nice to have an open, perhaps televised forum, with equal representation from both sides were we could all walk away with a better understanding of the natural gas issue that will effect our community greatly wether we drill or not..

"Anti Gasser Meeting" - IT WAS NOT
John Trallo •Reader Submitted • January 28, 2011, 7:55 pm

According to Mr. Furman, who I might add is a member Joint Landowners Coalition of NY - a pro-drilling advocacy group (a fact he failed to mention in his article), the forum was falsely represented.

I am 'the mediator' of the event he referred to. I was also the one who organized the debate. It was promoted as "The Cumulative Environmental Effects of Gas Drilling". Dr. Terry Engelder professor of geosciences and fracture mechanics from Penn State University, and Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, civil and environmental engineer from Cornell University were the featured presenters.

Also invited, were Marcellus Coalition Director Kathryn Klaber, co-founder Kristi Gittins, State Reps Tina Pickett, Garth Everett, & Matt Baker, Senator Gene Yaw, former Gov. Tom Ridge, & reps from Chesapeake, Talisman, & Chief oil & Gas, "Gasland" filmmaker Josh Fox, and Criag & Julie Sautner from Dimock, PA.

Ms. Klaber, Ms. Gittins, Rep Baker, & Gov. Ridge declined to participate.

Rep. Pickett, & industry reps from Talisman & Chesapeake did not bother to respond.

Rep. Everett, Senator Yaw accepted and were present, but chose not to participate.

Josh Fox and the Sautners graciously accepted and offered to participate in the discussion.

All those invited, save for Mr. Fox and then Sautners, were pro-industry!

It is true, Mr. Fox's flight plans were made in advance, but he was still going to appear. In a conversation with Mr. Fox at 6pm the evening of the event, he mentioned he wasn't feeling well, and it was my decision to ask him to simply 'call in' and speak to the audience which he did.
As for Mr. Furman's claim that "Well into Dr. Engelder's presentation people in the front row started hollering expletives. Interrupting the presentation and bringing it to a halt.", that is another of his gross exaggerations. Dr. Engelder was scheduled to speak for fifty minutes. He apparently lost track of the time and went on for sixty-three minutes, when one rude individual in the audience interrupted him. Dr. Engelder graciously allowed that man to speak his piece, and when offered to continue his presentation, he realized he was overtime and he decided he was done.

It's too bad Mr. Furman decided to leave at that point. Had he stayed, he might have learned something from these two brilliant professors who were both there to share their knowledge, and traveled at their own expense, as did everyone else. Perhaps, that's what he was afraid of, learning something that might conflict with his own position on natural gas development. However, if Mr. Furman would like to see the entire evenings presentations, I will gladly provide him with an unedited three-hour, fifteen-minute DVD free of charge. Perhaps then, he can refresh his memory and learn something in the interim.

At this point, I would like to make clear my motivations for organizing that event. I have attended anti-industry events, as well as pro-industry presentations. In most cases, whoever was presenting was in essence 'preaching to their choir', and there was usually someone making the comment, "We're only hearing one side of the argument." Therefore, it was my intention to bring together, in one place, those of opposing points of view, and attempt to go beyond 'anti-pro drilling' rhetoric, and allow the science, the industry, and those who have witnessed and experienced gas drilling personally, present the 'pros & cons' of this type of industrialization and give the people in the audience a chance to make up their own minds and form their own opinions.

It is my belief, that somewhere in between the anti-drilling hysteria and the slick industry advertising campaigns, lies the reality.

What I learned that night, is that before we make any decision on whether to drill, or not to drill for natural gas, we need to be able to quantify the risks. Both Dr. Engelder & Dr. Ingraffea agree there will be great risk, and things won't always go as planned. The main difference between the two: Dr. Engelder believes "in time, the industry will learn to 'do it right', but they need to practice doing it". Dr. Ingraffea believes, "they won't 'do it right' as long as we're following a corporate business model instead of a national energy policy, and this is not an industry that should be allowed to regulate itself." (*Mr. Furman might be surprised to learn that Dr. Engelder and Dr. Ingraffea once wrote a paper together.)

How much risk are we willing to accept? What are the real trade-offs? How much can be gained? Those are the questions we all need to ask ourselves, and we are the only ones who can answer them.

My advice to those who are faced with making this decision, listen to all sides, consider all aspects, know what has happened in other states where this has taken place, know your rights, and make a decision based on ALL available and credible information.
And Mr. Furman, maybe it's time you stopped vilifying those whose opinions differ from your own and actually listen and try to understand their concerns. They have the right to be heard, the same as you do.

William Huston
Binghamton NY Phone: 607-321-7846

Binghamton-area discussion; spirituality topics:
Binghamton Public Access TV is Open-To-Everyone!

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