Senator Ball says, “What do they have to hide?”
Brewster, N.Y. – (08/18/11) – Disturbing developments regarding the hydraulic fracturing hearing set to take place in less than one week in Katonah, N.Y. Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) has learned that every industry expert invited to testify at the August 23rd hearing has backed out!
The hearing entitled, “Getting the Facts on Fracking,” was called by Senator Ball to build awareness about hydraulic fracturing, also known as “hydrofracking” or “fracking.” Senator Ball invited more than a dozen industry experts, from gas companies across the country, including Exxon Mobil, Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Energy and Southwest Energy.
In 2010, then-Assemblyman Greg Ball held a similar public hearing, in which officials from Chesapeake Energy attended and testified. Senator Ball is calling on the company, and other industry leaders, to return to the table so New Yorkers can make informed decisions about the future of hydraulic fracturing in the state.
“Their unwillingness to participate in this hearing is an indictment on the industry,” said Senator Ball who called the public hearing in the wake of growing public interest. “I want to know what they’re afraid of. What do they have to hide?” added Ball.
Senator Ball recently joined Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox for a tour of Pennsylvania communities affected by hydrofracking. The eye-opening tour, which will appear in the documentary GASLAND 2, revealed a laundry list of missteps, oversights and cover-ups by the gas companies.
Some of the tour findings include:
- Lack of full disclosure about proprietary chemical formula used in the fracking process.
- Lack of protection for workers at drilling sites from fracking fluids and waste.
- Lack of land owner understanding about lease agreements and royalties.
- Lack of third-party chemical testing for contaminants in land owner’s water
- Lack of responsiveness by companies to pay for damages involving lost value of property as a result of contamination of water and soil, lost productivity of land, lost livestock and crops.
- Lack of local employment by the drilling companies (Chesapeake Energy). The workers at the Chesapeake site rigs were transported into Pennsylvania from Texas, Louisiana and Connecticut. Reason given is because it’s too costly to train local citizens.
- Seemingly aggressive unethical sales practices used by the companies “land man” to encourage land owners to sign leases.
- Lack of sharing of information on contamination between land owners.
- Lack of air quality testing.
- Lack of process to respond to or to Insure against devaluation of land owner’s property.
- No presumption of causation by the companies, they seem to be able to easily deny damages to water, soil, lost value of property and lost productivity.
- Absence of environmental impact analysis process
- No disclosures or warning statements on lease agreements concerning the financial, health and environmental risks of hydrofracking.
- Lack of full disclosure of past violations and spills by companies.
- Lack of commitment to remediate soil and water upon contamination.
- Lack of water from trusted governmental third parties instead of companies.
- Lack of regulations on campaign contributions to chairs of environment committees in state government.
- Lack of fine or penalty structure in response to contamination of water and soil.
- Lack of evacuation plan for local EMS.
Details on the August 23rd hearing, “Getting the Facts on Fracking,” can be by clicking here.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner: (845) 200-9716.