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To: Senator Tom Libous
MAJORITIES OPPOSE SHALE GAS
Dear Sen. Libous:
On 4-21-2012, you were quoted in Press & Sun Bulletin as saying,
"I believe [the Department of Environmental Conservation is] going to look at areas of the state ... where there is potential for drilling ... that are going to be open to it. And I think there are enough areas of the state that would be...."
Research done by members of the Vestal Residents for Safe Energy, Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy, Owego RAFT, and dozens of other local groups all throughout the Marcellus region are finding such wide majorities who oppose this unsafe process, to call your assertion-- that pro-fracking communities exist-- into question.
"While a few landowner coalitions want to profit from fracking, and are hoping, perhaps naively, that it can be done safely, those coalitions represent less than 10% of the population in any Southern Tier county", said Bill Huston, of New York Residents Against Drilling (NYRAD). "For everyone else, there are only guaranteed harms to our quality of life, and a risk of major catastrophe."
Door-to-door surveys during petition drives are revealing that most citizens of NY State in the impacted region understand this.
Groups all throughout the NY Marcellus region are canvassing neighborhoods with a petition to enact a town moratorium or ban against drilling. All groups are reporting a consistent majorities which are opposed to drilling, and most reporting a SUPER-MAJORITY (greater than 2/3rds) who are against it.
Cecile Lawrence, a citizen working with Tioga Peace and Justice, spoke of the recent Tioga County lease deal: "The coalition claimed that 2000 families control 135,000 acres. But Tioga County's population is 51,000, and the total land area is 335,000 acres. So, 40% of the land area is controlled by 16% of the population (*): Hardly a majority." * This is assuming 4 family members are owners, and assuming there are no corporate owners, which is clearly true in some cases.
Mike Bernhard, a Chenango County activist, said that all leases on file at the Chenango County Clerk's office represent less than 3% of the population. "And between a quarter and a third of the leased land belongs to absentee owners and investment vehicles."
Over 100 local bans and moratoria on fracking have been enacted statewide and 70 more are in the works.
Locally, the city of Binghamton has enacted a ban on fracking, and over 1,000 residents of Vestal have signed a petition asking for a ban on fracking in their town, as have residents of the Town of Owego.
Here is a summary of some of the results we have seen:
"We don't want our town to be the sacrifice zone for gas drilling," said Sue Rapp of Vestal.
The Press and Sun reports,
"Areas of New York that have been supportive of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas could be the first to get approval if the state Department of Environmental Conservation allows the technique, according to lawmakers and lobbyists."
Groups in Binghamton, Chenango, Union/Endicott, Owego, and dozens of other towns call upon you to show us where these communities exist. Where there is support, it is either from corporate investors, or else poor farmers and flood-damaged families.
Senator, it is cruel and unfair to take advantage of these people in order to push this dirty extractive industry, which will destroy the quality of life for all NY Citizens.
Here is a map of the present local ban activity.
This could also be a map of towns who do not trust the NY Department of Environmental Conservation's ability to safely regulate this activity
Over 170 NY municipalities which have mobilized to enact a local ban or moratorium, due to the clear inability of the DEC to regulate this process, and the many defects with the rdSGEIS. We therefore urge all NY Senators, including you Senator Libous, to support any bill which would PROTECT NY Citizens by banning all forms of Shale Gas Extraction until it can be shown to be safe.
All NY Citizens deserve Equal Protection from this inherently toxic and unsafe activity.
New data is coming in since this letter was first drafted.
- 7/19 Town of Callicoon conducted a survey: 88% against fracking. Letters and emails to the town board over their comprehensive plan indicates 97% stakeholders are against fracking. source:
riverreporteronline.com/my- view/16/2012/07/17/eighty- eight-percent-not-decisive
- 7/19 Elmira district 1, 69% against fracking.