Senator Ball Calls on Governor Cuomo to Take Immediate Steps to Protect New Yorkers from Hydrofracking
Mt. Kisco, N.Y. – (10/17/11) Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) today held a news conference in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s hometown of Mt. Kisco, N.Y., where he demanded the Governor take immediate steps to protect New Yorkers from the potentially devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing.
Senator Ball called on Governor Cuomo to tour Pennsylvania communities that have been ravaged by hydrofracking to see firsthand what could happen in New York without the proper regulations. Ball also called on Governor Cuomo to further extend the public comment period on hydrofracking in New York to 180 days.
“Maybe Governor Cuomo is focused on being President Cuomo and feels compelled to befriend this powerful industry, but all I know is that I went to Pennsylvania and I truly believe if the Governor did the same, he would put the brakes on his fracking express, taking time to get it right. Whether it be Dick Cheney’s ‘Halliburton Loophole’ or Governor Cuomo’s most recent expediting of a process for the convenience of billionaire gas execs, at the highest of levels this gas industry has undue influence. New York State should be leading the charge to regulate this industry, to protect private property owners, farmers, sportsman and our environment by learning from the devastation in other states. Instead the Governor is paving the way for fracking without installing necessary safeguards,” said Senator Greg Ball.
Senator Ball is also calling for the passage of his recently drafted Property Owner’s Bill of Rights, which would set tough, new standards for safe hydrofracking in New York.
The Property Owner’s Bill of Rights (S5879) includes the following measures:
- Mandatory water and soil testing by an official government third-party for presence of chemicals used during the fracturing process prior to drilling.
- All fracking companies must sign a Presumption of Causation Agreement with the State of New York.
- Mandatory full reimbursement to property owners by negligent gas companies for 150% of the real estate’s market value of property, based on estimates prior to drilling, and 100% of the cost for full remediation of soil and water. The company will also be accountable for full reimbursement of the land owner’s legal fees.
- Mandatory full remediation of soil and water, and free medical monitoring for life. All settlements are not to be taxed.
- Allow local governments to enact or enforce certain laws and ordinances relating to oil, gas and solution mining.
- Mandatory adherence to an environmental impact assessment process, similar to New York’s SEQR Process, to assess the impact to the environment from hydraulic fracturing.
- Mandatory disclaimers and warning statements on lease documents about the risk of contamination of soil and water, as well as the potential health effects, related to hydraulic fracturing spills.
The genesis of the bill came in the wake of an August 2011 tour Senator Ball took to Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox. There, Senator Ball witnessed first-hand the negative effects that hydrofracking can have on communities.
“Senator Greg Ball is one of the only politicians on either side of the aisle who has the heart to actually go and see firsthand the horrific and abusive conditions the gas fracking industry is forcing on citizens and one of the only public servants with the conviction and the guts to stand up to the gas industry. Touring the gas lands of Pennsylvania should be required of every NY state representative,” saidGASLAND Director Josh Fox.
On the tour, Senator Ball met with several families who suffered 90% devaluation of their property value following the contamination of water wells due to hydrofracking. Among them was Craig Stevens of Silver Lake Township, Pennsylvania.
“Thank you, Senator Ball for this Property Owner’s Bill Of Rights for my neighbors in New York. I have wondered for years why not one of our elected officials in Pennsylvania had the foresight to protect their constituents. Thank you for coming to Pennsylvania to see the other side of the story and not let money and greed cloud your judgment,” said Craig L. Stevens with Marcellus Patriots for Land Rights and a 6th generation landowner.
In August 2011, Senator Ball held a hearing on hydrofracking in Katonah, N.Y. where he heard from leading experts on the issue. The Senator invited representatives from the oil and gas industry to testify at that hearing. All invitations to oil and gas representatives were declined.
“Senator Greg Ball is asking New York’s leaders all the right questions about industrial gas drilling and what widespread fracking will mean for our water and our communities,” said Robert Moore, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “Before Governor Cuomo opens the Empire State to the gas industry, he should see for himself how fracking has impacted families in Pennsylvania. New York can learn from our neighbors’ mistakes.”
“The decision to allow hydrofracking will forever adversely change our state. Governor Cuomo’s advancement of hydrofracking will contaminate water ways, pollute our air and lands, and cause an irreversible industrialization of rural NY. It would be a bold but imperative step for the Governor to tour communities in Pennsylvania, as is being requested by Senator Ball, to view firsthand the harmful results of hydrofracking. Ignorance isn’t bliss, ignorance is dangerous,” said Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito.
Senator Ball is hosting a screening of the film GASLAND in Peekskill, N.Y. The Senator will be joined by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox for the viewing, which is free and open to the public. The screening is scheduled for October 22ndat 1:30 p.m. at the Peekskill Neighborhood Center located at 4 Nelson Ave, Peekskill, N.Y. 10566. Seating is limited.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner:(845) 200-9716.