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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 also known as hydrofracking. The forum was attended by members of the Democratic Conference, as well as environmental activists, legislators, economists, healthcare professionals and residents from throughout New York State. Attendees at todays forum discussed the issues and concerns about potential consequences and impacts of hydrofracking. The Senate Democratic Conference wants to ensure that before any drilling is allowed to proceed in New York, our states 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 make informed 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 a possible cause to increased seismic activity. The hydrofracking process combines a series of chemicals with 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 todays forum provided the opportunity for experts 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 Majority rejected 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 will impact New Yorkers lives and health, bill sponsor Senator Tony Avella said. We have an obligation to put the health and safety of our states residents ahead of the desire for short-term financial gain. This bill ensures that generations of New Yorkers will grow up in a state that retains its natural beauty and resources 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. These companies want to come into our state, pump poisonous chemicals into the ground underneath our homes and our farmland, and then leave with a tidy profit and no liability. The available science, the results in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and common sense all produce the same conclusion: hydrofracking is a dangerously bad idea that could poison our water and air and cripple our states agriculture. Hydrofracking proponents are trying to force approval and implementation of hydraulic fracturing in an election 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 Velmanette Montgomery 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 Democratic colleagues in announcing a comprehensive agenda to better inform New Yorkers of the possible health risks 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 their concerns about hydrofracking, Senator Suzi Oppenheimer said. It is hard for me to imagine a more quintessentially local decision than whether to permit this type of industrial activity within a town or villages boundaries. That is why I sponsor legislation to codify the right, upheld by courts, for municipalities to determine for themselves whether hydrofracking is permissible under their own local land use laws. The risks posed by hydrofracking are too great and the information available about this dangerous process too little, for New York State to allow hydrofracking to move forward. Senator Adriano Espaillat said. Thats why we have sponsored legislation cracking down on hydrofracking and why we must continue to place the health and well-being of New Yorkers over profits for the oil and natural gas industry. The natural gas-rich regions of our state are badly in need of jobs and economic opportunity, but hydrofracking 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 have opposed hydrofracking at every opportunity, and will continue to do so. Our health, our water, and our safety 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 Democratic Conference and Senator Avellas leadership on hydrofracking and their determination not to let it be ignored. In contrast, the Republican Senate leadership apparently will not bring any of these bills to the EnCon Committee even for consideration or to the Senate floor for a vote. We have been lobbying Albany about hydrofracking for years only to run into state leaders passing the buck and telling us to wait on the DEC review process. There is a high likelihood that the DEC will begin issuing permits before January 2013, so the next two months is the time for the Legislature to act or risk becoming irrelevant altogether on this issue. Once permitting begins, it will be much harder to exert legislative oversight. I call on the Senate Republicans to not allow the Legislature to abdicate its responsibility to debate and create policy on one of the most critical issues facing New York State. David Brain, on behalf of New Yorkers Against Fracking, said, Fracking would be the greatest environmental disaster in New Yorks 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 contamination and health disasters, shows that fracking cannot be done without sacrificing our health, economy, and environment, 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 medical professionals across the state, including the American Academy of Pediatrics of New York State, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the NYS Nurses Association the NYS Chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians, the University of Rochester Medical Center and Healthy Schools Network, a Health Impact Assessment of gas activities was not included in the budget. Such an HIA process would have addressed how gas drilling might impact the people of New York State, especially the most vulnerable. Senator Avellas S.6772 HIA bill fills that glaring omission.

Dr. Jannette M. Barth, Ph.D., said, When you look at all the data, the case has not been made that shale gas is a net positive for New York State. Dr. Robert Oswald, Ph.D., and Dr. Michelle Bamberger, D.V.M., said, Animals, especially livestock, are sensitive to the contaminants released into the environment by drilling and by its cumulative impacts. Documentation of thirty cases in eight states strongly implicates exposure to gas drilling operations in serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife. Complete evidence regarding health impacts of gas drilling cannot be obtained due to incomplete disclosure of chemicals, incomplete testing of water, air, soil and animal tissues, and nondisclosure agreements. Without complete studies, given the many apparent adverse impacts on human and animal health, a ban on shale gas drilling is essential for the protection of public health. We strongly support Senator Avellas S.8217 Health Impact Assessment Bill S.6772 and S.4200-A, prohibiting the use of horizontal drilling with high volume hydraulic fracturing for extraction of gas in New York State. Elisabeth Radow, Esq., said, Across America, property ownership is being revolutionized by the proliferation of the multi-step, heavy industrial oil and gas drilling operations on the land surface of private homes and farms. The long-term ripple effects on property value and the tax base deserve attention.

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