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Fracking opponents want a say in the state's review of health impacts

BINGHAMTON — Opponents of hydrofracking in New York are asking for a say in the state’s review of its public health impacts.

Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan and other opponents of natural gas drilling on Tuesday called for formal public participation and other revisions to the New York State Department of Health’s review of hydrofracking.

“The problem with that entire proceeding is it is being undertaken completely in secret,” said Walter Hang, president of Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting. “There has never been a piece of paper released to the public about the scope of the health review, about how it’s being undertaken, about what its critical issues are.”

More than 1,000 drilling opponents, including several public officials, have signed on to a letter asking for formal written notice of what the Department of Health’s review involves, a minimum of 30 days of written review and comment on the review and at least one public hearing where interested parties can testify about how the review should be conducted.

“If it’s ever going to be done in our state, we need to make sure that there’s integrity in the process,” Ryan said Tuesday.

AG inquires about conflicts on fracking votes in Southern Tier

The New York State Attorney General’s Office has launched an ethics inquiry concerning votes by Southern Tier town board members related to natural gas drilling, according to documents obtained by the Press & Sun-Bulletin.

In single-page letters sent in October, Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin indicated that drilling-related action by town boards earlier in the year raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.

Hang, DEC differ over uncapped wells

BINGHAMTON — Years after an Allegany County family found crude oil pouring from its showerhead in 2008, they still don’t feel comfortable drinking their water.

A tank of brine continuously pours contaminants into a western New York lagoon. Across the state, nearly 5,000 abandoned oil and gas wells haven’t been properly capped.

Walter Hang, president of an Ithaca-based environmental database firm, Toxics Targeting, on Wednesday released a set of documents he says indicate shortcomings in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s regulation of conventional oil and gas drilling, and lead to questions about whether the agency is equipped to regulate hydrofracking.

Lamb: Election is referendum on reckless drilling

BINGHAMTON — Asking voters to consider November’s election “a referendum on reckless drilling,” Democratic congressional candidate Dan Lamb on Tuesday sought to push the debate over hydraulic fracturing to the forefront of his campaign against incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna.

Fracking opponents target Cuomo supporters

In an effort to get the ear of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, opponents of hydraulic fracturing in the Southern Tier have penned a letter to 1,000 of his closest friends.

Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan and others who have concerns about the natural gas extraction technique gathered in front of Binghamton City Hall on Wednesday to discuss a letter they sent to the 1,000 largest contributors to Cuomo’s campaign fund.

Experts: Gas drilling won't start in N.Y. in 2012

JOHNSON CITY -- Area experts on natural gas drilling agree: New York's swath of the Marcellus Shale isn't likely to be tapped in 2012.

Panelists on both sides of the issue discussed the future of natural gas drilling in the Southern Tier at a roundtable discussion hosted by Press & Sun-Bulletin on Thursday at the Gannett Central N.Y. Production Facility.

Experts agree: Fracking moratorium 'symbolic'

The state Assembly's vote in favor of a six-month moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial drilling technique essential to tapping the natural gas reserves of the Marcellus Shale, is drawing mixed reactions from legislators and advocates on both sides of the drilling debate.

"We already have a de facto moratorium on horizontal hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale, and as far as I'm concerned, this really was a big mistake from the beginning," said Ithaca-based anti-drilling activist Walter Hang.

Pro-drilling demonstrators tired of demonstrating

As the second 12-hour EPA meeting session began on Wednesday, some pro-drilling demonstrators said they are starting become somewhat tired of making their case.

“People are getting burnt out on it,” said Marchie Diffendorf of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York. “It just keeps going on and on, and nobody trusts what the state’s going to do next — let alone the EPA.”

Diffendorf said the meeting was just one more event amid the three-year process of lobbing to bring natural gas drilling to New York State, and defend the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing nationwide.

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