KATONAH, NY (WAMC) - The debate over expanded natural gas exploration in New York shifted to an unusual spot Tuesday. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief attended a state hearing on the topic of hydraulic fracturing, which was held in Westchester County…
State Senator Greg Ball’s district isn’t a hotbed for drilling activity, but it was in his district in the lower Hudson Valley where a hearing was held on the topic of hydraulic fracturing, the process used by oil and gas companies to extract natural gas from shale formations.
Ball recently traveled to Pennsylvania to visit well sites and communities impacted by drilling accidents. He, along with State Senators Liz Krueger and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, listened to the testimony of environmental experts, homeowners impacted by drilling accidents, and even medical professionals.
One voice that wasn’t heard at the hearing was that of the drilling industry in New York. In fact, officials from the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, along with the New York State Petroleum Council, released a statement detailing why they did not attend. The statement says that they have watched and read closely the recent comments made by Ball regarding the industry and its practices. It goes on to say that these pronouncements lead them to conclude that this particular forum would not provide the opportunity for a thoughtful and rational dialogue that they would otherwise hope for with Ball.
Following the hearing, the Senator clearly expressed disappointment about the declined invitation. He says the reality is that the industry has the opportunity to make billions of dollars in the state. He added that they are the ones trying to push this along in the state, and are “begging the Governor, the legislature, and everyone they can” to move forward. He then asked, “So where the hell were they?”
Ball says the industry needs to answer tough questions. When asked how he planned to get those answers, if not during a state senate sponsored hearing, Ball told WAMC News that the industry appears to have hooks at all different levels. He says legislators need to push forward and not be intimidated by the power the industry seems to have. (READ MORE)