Senator Greg Ball Hosts Historic Hearing on Hydrofracking

Katonah, N.Y. – (08/23/11) – Lively crowds turned out in large numbers for a hearing entitled, “Getting the Facts on Fracking,” held today at the Katonah Public Library in Katonah, N.Y. Hosted by New York State Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), the hearing examined the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing in New York, featuring testimony from industry experts, eye witnesses, doctors, economists, scientists and many more.


Also known as hydrofracking or fracking, hydraulic fracturing is the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet into the earth to release and capture natural gas. Supporters believe that hydrofracking would create hundreds of jobs and bring a much-needed boost to New York’s starving economy. Opponents are concerned about the effects on the environment, public safety and long-term health risks of hydrofracking.

“I want nothing more than to create jobs in New York. But I will not roll out the red carpet for companies that are not willing to be held accountable,” said Senator Ball who recently toured Pennsylvania communities where hydrofracking is actively taking place. “I saw beautiful communities booming with economic activity. I also heard horror stories from families and farmers who’ve suffered health problems, lost livestock and seen a 90 percent devaluation of their homes and properties,” added Ball.

“The gas industry claims that gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale will bring great economic prosperity to upstate New York.  The gas industry is seriously misleading the public and our politicians. They ignore costs and exaggerate benefits,” said Dr. Jannette Barth, an economist and the President of Pepacton Institute LLC.


“Shale gas extraction has nothing at all to do with energy independence. The Marcellus Shale region of New York is poised to become an energy extraction zone sacrificed to meet the energy needs of other countries,” said Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.


“Albert Einstein said ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ Why are we continuing to drill in Pennsylvania when they haven’t fixed the problems and contamination over the last four years?” said Craig L. Stevens, a sixth generation landowner from Silver Lake Township, Pennsylvania, where hydrofracking is currently permitted.


“When considering whether to permit dirty gas drilling called fracking in New York State, our leaders need to put the long-term health and safety of our waters and our communities ahead of short-term gas profits. Until New York State has the most protective rules and regulations in place for fracking, and boots on the ground to provide responsible oversight, our state shouldn’t green light the gas industry’s rush to drill,” said Robert Moore, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of New York.


“Many of the impacts to fish and wildlife won’t be seen tomorrow. Rather, the effects of this type of industrial scale gas drilling will be felt in the long-term. That is why it is critical that the state conduct a cumulative assessment of impacts on fish, wildlife and water resources, and determine what level of extra protections are needed in areas with high ecological and conservation value. The state must mandate that strict best management practices be employed at every drilling site to reduce impacts on fish and wildlife,” said Katy Dunlap of Trout Unlimited.


“We commend Senator Ball for hosting this hearing, said Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper. “Forums between business experts, environmental groups, the public and legislators are vital in fostering the dialogue that is so critical in preventing hydrofracking in New York State from going forward unless it is proved safe beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Senator Ball plans to use the information gathered at today’s hearing to shape legislation and policies in Albany, N.Y. as it pertains to hydraulic fracturing.


For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner: (845) 200-9716.


About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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