The last of three — yes, three — news conferences on hydraulic fracturing is in the books, with members of the business community, landowners and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous making passionate pitches to move forward with an expansion of natural gas drilling in New York.
The coalition of groups, which have adopted the tag “Clean Growth Now,” presented boxes filled with 7,000 letters signed by landowners, supporting the Joint Landowners Coalition’s 26-page set of comments to the state Department of Environmental Conservation on the agency’s proposed regulations and guidelines for high-volume hydrofracking. (The groups said they expected another 5,000 or so to be submitted by tomorrow’s deadline.)
But in contrast with a group of environmental organizations that submitted about 12,000 earlier comments earlier in the day, the Joint Landowners Coalition letters are meant to show support to the DEC, not necessarily to be logged as separate comments, according to Bob Williams, a member of the group. (By endorsing a single set of comments, that also means less work for the DEC, since it would only have to respond to one document.)
Among the landowners’ comments? A request to include GPS tracking units in waste- and water-hauling trucks so their routes can be confirmed, and a warning to the DEC that a ban on hydrofracking in the Syracuse and New York City watersheds will likely result in legal action.
Here’s a video recap of the day’s action, featuring JLC President Dan Fitzsimmons, Environmental Advocates’ Katherine Nadeau, Libous, and Citizens Campaign for the Environment’s Sarah Eckel: