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EPA told gas drilling does, does not taint water

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Rep. Maurice Hinchey told a federal hearing Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency must regulate hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas extraction process that he said has contaminated water near drilling sites around the country.

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.

Fracking for natural gas: EPA hearings bring protests

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial process for extracting natural gas from shale. Critics of fracking question the environmental and health effects of pumping thousands of gallons of water and chemicals underground.

Public hearings over hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" brought hundreds of protesters to Binghamton, N.Y., Monday, carrying signs and shouting slogans either opposing or favoring expansion of the controversial process for extracting natural gas from shale.

Cuomo campaign drives into Ithaca

Ithacans learned a lot about their attorney general and potential future governor, Andrew Cuomo, on Thursday. He loves to drive. He's a loser when it comes to pingpong. And he also wants to reform Albany.

Many of the fun facts came from Michaela, one of Cuomo's three daughters and the first of the family to address the capacity crowd of around 300 who gathered at the Women's Community Building.

"I've lived with this man for my whole life," the 12-year-old quipped. "In those years, I've come to this conclusion: he loves New York and he'll fight for it."

The Democrat and former federal secretary for Housing and Urban Development pulled into the parking lot behind the wheel of an RV. It was the first stop of the day and one of many in Cuomo's "Drive for a New NY" tour, which he explained is part vacation, part campaign tour.

Cuomo said he spent the trip down from Geneva trying to explain to his daughters the history and ethics of Ithaca, where "people like to question authority."

"And then we pulled into town and it was all said for me," Cuomo said, referring to the mass of hydraulic fracturing protesters who lined the streets and surrounded the building.

Cuomo, gas drilling activists meet in Ithaca

ITHACA -- Andrew Cuomo made the campaign rounds through the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier on Thursday, promoting his call for reform in Albany.

While here, the Democratic candidate for governor heard from many promoting the need to prevent natural gas drilling in the region's Marcellus Shale.

Cuomo spoke in Ithaca and in Montour Falls on Thursday, finding natural gas protesters at both sites, especially in Ithaca.

One was dressed in a hazardous material suit marked with the phrase "Inspector for 1,000 wells" and holding a "box of loopholes." Another held an empty leash and a sign that read "My dog drank the water."

In a gathering on The Ithaca Commons before Cuomo's scheduled appearance, Toxics Targeting president and gas drilling activist Walter Hang congratulated local activists for helping to put the brakes on drilling.

"The longer we push this off, the longer the de facto moratorium on gas drilling stays in place," Hang said.

He held up a recent letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlining significant concerns with the scope and content of the state Department of Conservation's environmental impact statement draft under review.

"This could be our salvation," Hang said. "We've got to kill the draft with the EPA's help."

Cuomo said he was expecting such a reaction.

Anti-fracking activists in Ithaca get a word in but no promises from Cuomo

ITHACA -- They stood on different sides of the podium on Thursday, but their message was the same: if the people lead, politicians will follow.

In the case of Andrew Cuomo, it was meant to be a rallying cry to voters to back his reform agenda as he attempts to move from New York attorney general to governor this November.

For Toxics Targeting president and gas drilling activist Walter Hang, it was a call to action to the hundreds of protesters who lined the streets and surrounded the Women's Community Building to greet the candidate as he came to town.

Governor-Hopeful Cuomo Visits Ithaca

You might not expect the favorite in the polls to be the next governor of New York to be greeted by many protesters.

But that was the scene in Ithaca Thursday as Andrew Cuomo stopped through town on the campaign trail.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the building where Cuomo was scheduled to speak.

They insist that the draft general environmental impact statement, or DGEIS, would not fully protect the Southern Tier if and when hydro fracking is allowed in New York.

"Reject that draft, get rid of it, eat it, send it back to the drawing board," said William Hang.

"It's woefully inadequate," said Ellen Harrison of Caroline, NY.

Cuomo gets an earful about hydrofracking

Protesting Cuomo's Visit

Walter Hang, president of Toxic Targeting, says he is leading a protest of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo's visit to Ithaca. Hang wants Cuomo to take a stronger stand on banning fracking.

Download the podcast from the WHCU web site.

Fracking foes target Cuomo visit

Gubernatorial candidate to campaign in Ithaca, Montour Falls Thursday

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to visit Tompkins County on Thursday as part of a statewide tour to support his campaign for governor.

The Democrat will be appearing at the Women's Community Building, at 100 W. Seneca St. in Ithaca, at 11 a.m. before moving on to Montour Falls for a 12:30 p.m. visit to Montour House.

He will likely be greeted by local anti-gas drilling activists, who are organizing a rally outside of the building starting at 10:15 a.m.

Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, led a gathering of dozens of hydrofracturing opponents during a Cuomo campaign stop in Binghamton earlier this month, and he hopes an even larger crowd will assemble in Ithaca this week.

"Andrew Cuomo needs our votes to get elected governor, but he has taken a pro Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracking position that is shockingly weak on environmental and public health protection," Hang said. "He must be hounded into supporting withdrawal of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS)."

Cuomo wants 'the facts' before moving forward on natural gas drilling

Anti-drilling protesters greet gubernatorial candidate in Binghamton

BINGHAMTON -- About 50 people gathered outside the State Office Building Wednesday, demanding answers from Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo on where he stands on drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.

They left unsatisfied.

Cuomo was in town to announce an investigation into predatory health care lenders and finances, of which his office has received numerous complaints as the economy turned sour.

The protesters, however, were more interested in the Attorney General's take on one of the biggest issues in the Southern Tier. Cuomo's appearance came the day after the state Senate passed a bill that would place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until May 15, 2011.

The state has already put high-volume hydraulic fracturing -- a practice in which a mix of water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep underground to break up the shale and release natural gas -- on hold as the state Department of Environmental Conservation reviews its regulations on the process. The DEC is expected to release those regulations -- known as the supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (sGEIS) -- by the end of the year.

"Andrew Cuomo has not taken a sufficiently strong position on this matter," said Walter Hang, an Ithaca database specialist who organized the impromptu rally. "We want him to withdraw the draft sGEIS. We want him to do more than say it ought to be studied before it happens. We want him to come back to the (Southern Tier), meet with citizens, and talk with them about their concerns."

No ‘Fracking’ Way: The Perils of Natural Gas Drilling

Listen here:

While the BP oil spill has increased calls to use natural gas as a so-called ‘clean energy’ alternative, activists are sounding the alarm bell about this controversial gas drilling technique – hydraulic fracturing.

This week, we’ll hear excerpts from the movie “Gasland.” We’ll also hear from people from Pennsylvania to the mountains of Colorado who are trying to prevent the toxic fallout from ‘fracking’ before it starts.

Special thanks to Josh Fox, the producer of ‘Gasland,’ and to Alton Byrd and Rachel Zurer for helping to produce this show.


Walter Hang, Toxics Targeting President; Josh Fox, ‘Gasland’ movie producer; Weston Wilson, EPA employee not speaking on behalf of the EPA; Oil and gas industry executives; Pat Farnelli, Norma Fiorintino, Ron & Jean Carter, Dimock, PA residents; Dr. Theo Colborn, Endocrine Disruption Exchange President; Paul Light, Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance President; Rachel Waldholz, High Country News Correspondent; Maurice Hinchey, New York State Representative, 22nd District; Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper Program Director.