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Key Assembly Member On Fracking Panel Calls For Health Study Do-Over

A Binghamton Assemblywoman who is on the Cuomo’s Administration’s hydro fracking advisory panel is asking for a do over of an ongoing heath review, saying the secretive process has compromised public confidence.

Obama to be Greeted by Anti Fracking Protesters In Upstate New York

President Obama is planning on visiting upstate New York next week to promote an education plan. But whenever a major politician visits the region, the issue of fracking is often on the agenda, whether they like it or not.

President Obama’s planned trip to Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton will focus on the importance of getting an affordable college education.

But activists opposed to hydro fracking want the topic of natural gas drilling to be on the agenda as well.

“We’re going to be present in Binghamton by the hundreds if not the thousands,” says Walter Hang, with the Ithaca based Toxics Targeting.

Hang says protesters are expected at the President’s other stops, as well, but the Southern Tier, which is at the epicenter of the gas drilling debate, will feature the largest demonstration.

Fracking Opponents In New York Say Gasland Movies Help

Monday night brought the TV premiere of Gasland II , a sequel to the original anti- hydro fracking movie. In New York, where Governor Cuomo’s decision on fracking is still on hold, both opponents and supporters of fracking say the films have helped frame the debate.

Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox is a frequent participant in anti fracking rallies at the State Capitol that routinely attract hundreds of people.

Walter Hang, with the group Toxics Targeting, says in New York, the 2010 Gasland movie contributed to what has now become a five year delay on whether to allow hydro fracking in the state.

“It did help to make the grass roots organizing much more effective,” Hang said. “There’s no dispute about that.”

Anti-fracking group calls health review process "surreal"

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Albany, NY, Dec 04, 2012 — A coalition of environmentalists and elected officials called on Governor Cuomo's health and environmental agencies to provide more information on a health review on hydraulic fracturing that they say has been shrouded in secrecy.

Cuomo: state to miss fracking deadline set for Thursday

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The state’s environmental agency will know by Thursday whether it will miss a key deadline and delay approval of hydrofracking in New York once again. As Karen DeWitt reports, anti-fracking forces see an opportunity in the likely new delay, while those waiting to benefit economically from the gas drilling process are feeling frustrated.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he expects the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation will fail to meet a November 29th deadline to propose new rules for the gas drilling process known as hydro fracking.

“We are not going to be able to,” Cuomo said. “The state wont finish the review by November 29th.”

Speaking in Rochester, Cuomo says the environmental agency will have to apply for an extension , which could delay the process for up to another six months.

The Health and Environmental Departments have agreed that a health review needs to be finished before new fracking rules can be finalized. The State Health Commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, just a few days before Thanksgiving, contracted with three nationally known health experts to help him examine the material.

Groups who oppose fracking say they’ll use the new delay as an opportunity to try to prevent the drilling from ever happening in New York . Walter Hang with Toxics Targeting, says his group will be writing letters to the three health experts to urge a thorough health review.

“I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that Dr. Shah and the three outside experts are fully aware of all of the pollution problems that have been reported in New York's oil and gas regions for decades and decades. We’re going to call upon them to make sure that they address all of those concerns,” Hang said.

Hang says there have been reports of past drinking water contamination, and failure to clean up past pollution from drilling. But he worries that the review will be narrowly focused, and not address opponents’ concerns, and he says he’s frustrated that the details of the review have not been made public.

“What are they supposed to do? That has never been disclosed,” said Hang. “We don’t know what the scope of their review is.”

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