Sens. David Carlucci, Cecilia Tkaczyk and Bill Perkins all traveled to northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday for a tour organized by an anti-fracking group. And when they got there, a staffer for a gas-industry-funded group decided to tail along.
Energy in Depth, an advocacy group funded by an assortment of oil-and-gas companies and trade groups, took an assortment of videos of the trip and posted their own take on it today. They show some relatively tense confrontations between the trip organizers, the Energy in Depth staffer and a spokesman for WPX, a gas company with wells in the area; At one point, the WPX spokesman refers to trip organizers Vera Scroggins and Craig Stevens as “professional activists,” to which Perkins objected and Scroggins correctly pointed out that the Energy in Depth staffer was being paid by the industry group.
The senators were shown a variety of different sites near gas wells in Pennsylvania where residents have complained of the water quality and health issues.
The site shown in the video above was the subject of a news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection today. The state regulators, which had been investigating the Franklin Forks site since 2011 since residents began complaining of suddenly discolored water, found the methane in the water supply to be naturally occurring.
The trip was spearheaded by Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, who has sponsored a bill that would put a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York, tying it to the completion of a pair of outside studies launched by Geisinger Health System and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Carlucci says the moratorium is needed in order to give New York regulators the proper time to assess outside science still being compiled.
“I believe we are getting down to maybe some of our last chances to make sure that the science and not only the environment but the impact on human health are taken into the equation,” Carlucci said prior to the trip.
(Photo provided by Jason Elan of Carlucci’s office.)