Below is the statement that was delivered to Talisman Energy USA today. There were around 150 people attending the protest, making this the largest protest targeting the gas industry so far in New York State. For more information about the action, visit http://dontfrackwithus.org/.
We are here today from all over New York State to deliver a message to John Manzoni, Talisman’s CEO and President.
We stand here today, numbering close to 150, as residents and citizens of New York State. We are family members and friends, working people: teachers, farmers, healthcare professionals, business owners, students, and community members. We come from towns, cities, hollows, villages, and farm country.
But we have something in common: we are all profoundly committed to the land and communities we come from. We come from rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, lush forests, and fertile farmland. Our land has a history running through it as deep as the vast expanse of Marcellus Shale beneath it. Most of us grew up here, and many of our families have been here for generations. Our communities and prosperity are part of this land.
And we have something else in common: We all drink water. In the Southern Tier, we are lucky enough to able to drink water straight from the tap. Our freshwater has made this region ripe for agriculture, dairy farms and vineyards. Hydraulic fracturing would put an end to New York State as we know it.
In Talisman’s Shale Operating Principles you say: “We are committed to conducting business in an ethically, socially and environmentally responsible manner.” Yet Talisman has over 300 current violations in our neighboring state of Pennsylvania. Talisman spilled between 4 and 6 THOUSAND gallons of fracking fluid, filled with toxic chemicals, into the Tioga River. And if fracking begins in New York, there will be an estimated 210 to 380 million additional tax dollars for future road infrastructure costs. Does that look ethically, socially or environmentally responsible to you?
Scientists and doctors have spoken out about the dangers of hydro-fracking. Local businesses have joined coalitions against fracking. 79 towns in New York have passed bans, with 71 more working toward a ban.
Regardless of Governor Cuomo’s decision about fracking, New York State residents will rise up and say NO. We have learned throughout history that when our legislators fail us, because they are either powerless or corrupt, we must take things into our own hands. We stand here today in the face of an industry which favors profit over people, which seeks to betray us and sell us out.
Mr. Manzoni, THESE New York State residents will not stand by and allow our communities to be fractured and displaced, our drinking water poisoned, and our land rendered unlivable. We will not be a sacrifice zone.
Together, we will use our bodies as a source of strength, when our words are not being heard. Everywhere you drill a well, we will be there to stop it. When the first fracking truck drives to pour toxic chemicals into the ground, we will be there to block the road.
Together, our strength and determination is as powerful as a wide river coursing through the landscape. We will rise up to confront industry again and again, because we are fighting for something worth far more than money: our families and our future.
While horizontal hydrofracking has not yet begun in New York, it has been devastating our neighbors in Pennsylvania. Some of the largest natural gas companies are now headquartered in New York State, with plans of drilling here as early as this summer.
One such fracking company operates right in our backyard. It is time for Southern Tier residents to directly confront the companies – telling them that we will NOT allow drilling here in New York.
Direct Action has been a powerful tool in countless past struggles. When our lawmakers fail us, we must use our own bodies to speak our hearts and minds and to make a point. JOIN US for a non-arrestable, family-friendly action. Bring friends, kids, and voices ready to sing and speak out. Together, we WILL send a strong message to the Gas Industry that regardless of Governor Cuomo’s decisions about fracking, the People will stand strong to defend our land and communities.
There will be an Orientation Meeting and Art-make for the action this Sunday from 7-8:30pm at The Worker’s Center in Ithaca, NY (directions: http://goo.gl/maps/XYwf) . Though attendance is not required to participate in the action, it is strongly recommended.
We will meet for the action at the Bon-Ton at the Arnot Mall in Horseheads, New York on Wednesday, June 27th at 10 am. (directions: http://goo.gl/maps/8UfR)Please arrive promptly because we will be leaving from this location to the action itself.
To get more information or for media inquires contact NoFrackingActionMedia@gmail.com
visit the action’s website at www.dontfrackwithus.org
Hope to see you there!
Shaleshock Direct Action Working Group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Becky Bowen, Outreach Coordinator
Community Science Institute
No one can say with certainty how or if hydrofracking will impact our streams, lakes and rivers. The Community Science Institute (CSI), based in Ithaca NY, will be recruiting and training several groups of volunteers in the Upper Susquehanna River Watershed to find out.
The Community Science Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower citizens to monitor and protect their community’s natural resources, especially water. In addition to partnering with volunteer groups, CSI also operates a state certified water quality testing lab (NYSDOH-ELAP #11790). CSI’s currently partners with eight volunteer groups in the Cayuga Lake watershed and Upper Susquehanna River Basin, covering over 800 square miles of drainage area.
Water monitoring by volunteer groups in partnership with the certified laboratory is a low-cost and effective strategy for tracking water quality. With support from the CSI lab, volunteers will perform regular “red flag” field tests on stream samples to assess whether or not contamination occurs from shale gas operations. If a “red flag” is found, the CSI lab will perform further testing. CSI will be holding the following Information Sessions about “Red Flag” Monitoring:
CSI will be holding the following Information Sessions for interested volunteers in Chemung and Steuben Counties:
- Tuesday, June 19th, 6:15 PM at the Southeast Steuben County Public Library Auditorium, located at 300 Nasser Civic Center Plaza, Suite 101 in Corning.
- Wednesday, July 11th, 6:15 PM at the Dormann Public Library Empire Room, located at 101 West Morris Street in Bath.
Come and find out how CSI’s stream monitoring program works and how to get involved!
If you would like to get involved but cannot come to the Info Session, please email Becky Bowen, CSI’s Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com or call 607-257-6606.
Community Science Institute
Water Quality Testing Lab
On wednesday, the New York Times published an article detailing Governor Cuomo’s plan to instate “a plan to limit the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing to portions of several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support for the technology.” (See: New York Times Article 6/13/12)
Once again, we see that the poorest communities are the ones who suffer first and the most from damaging extractive industries. The article notes how many people who lease their land are on the brink of losing their homes, and feel that they have no other option. The article has a clear pro-fracking slant, quoting many who speak in support of fracking. The implication is that Cuomo’s “plan” is considerate and responsible to all New York citizens, neglecting that he is sacrificing certain communities and preying on their vulnerabilities in order to curry Industry favor.
Any day now, drilling may begin in Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga Counties. Fracking isn’t a distant anxiety: it is coming to New York State this summer, and we are running out of options.
For years now, communities and citizens have been working on legislative action. While this is without a doubt crucial, what happens if and when legislation fails us?
What happens when, this summer, Big Natural Gas starts drilling in one of the aforementioned Southern Tier Counties?
Direct Action has worked in the past — we’ve seen it in the civil rights movement and many others. There have been many points throughout history when citizens can no longer rely on their elected officials because those officials are either powerless or corrupt. Now is one of those times.
When it comes to protecting our communities and the land we love, most of us would do just about anything. We, the residents of a region known for its lakes, rivers, and gorges, must come together to fight back against an industry which will sell us out for profit. All we have left are our bodies, so let’s use them to speak our hearts and minds loud and clear.
The NYT article mentions “a coalition of lesser-known groups opposes fracking under any circumstances and plans further demonstrations.” It’s time for that coalition to stand up and demonstrate, so that we might MAKE ourselves better-known across the state and country.
For the past few weeks, the Shaleshock Action Working Group has for the been working on the first action of what we hope will be a strong direct action campaign in New York State — one that will hopefully connect us to the struggles of communities already fighting gas drilling across the Marcellus Region. This first action will be Wednesday June 27th at a time and location to be announced closer to the day of the action. Note: This is a NON-ARRESTABLE action. All ages are welcome and encouraged to come out and support efforts to save our communities.
There will be two meetings prior to the action:
Organizer Plug-In Meeting- June 17th at 7pm at 311 S. Albany Street, Ithaca, NY. This meeting will be for people who want to take an active role in this action. Folks who attend can plug into the organizing that the Shaleshock Action Working Group has already done. Action roles including joining the Media Team, Security/Police Liasons, Peacekeepers, Chantleaders, Art/Music Team, Logistics help.
Action Orientation- June 24th 7pm, location TBA in Ithaca, NY. This will be an orientation for ALL people who want to be involved in the action. There will be a brief presentation about the action, an explanation of the decision to keep this specific action non-violent and non-arrestable, and a brief discussion of any last minute logistics. This short orientation will be followed by an artmake for people to make signs, puppets, songs, and other art to bring to the action. This meeting is not mandatory for folks who want to go to the action but attendance is strongly encouraged.
The action will take place about 40 minutes away from Ithaca on Wednesday, June 27. For strategical reasons, we cannot disclose the exact location of the action. The action is completely child-friendly and it would be great to have a wide range of ages represented to show the media that this is a FAMILY and COMMUNITY issue. We all drink water here!
If anyone has any questions or concerns, or ideas about how to help, please contact directly:
Location: in Ithaca, RSVP for details and directions.
Dates and Time: Tuesdays, June 12, July 10, August 14. 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
Grassroots Ecological Consulting
, an Ithaca-based organization that advocates for resilient communities (natural and human), is offering a series of three workshops on bioregional mapping this summer. In collaboration with Ithaca Freeskool
, these hands-on workshops are free—but space is limited, so register now.
What do we call home, and why? The bioregion has long been a useful concept to understand what Doug Aberley calls “the boundaries of home.” With the burgeoning locavore movement and the coming changes promised by Peak Oil, the idea of bioregionalism has never been more relevant.
In these three workshops we will explore bioregionalism as a concept and tool, consider the boundaries of our bioregion, and put pencil to paper to craft maps of our home.
No cartographic or artistic skills required! Come learn just how simple and powerful map-making can be.
Presentation in Vestal June 6th by Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VeRSE)
What: Educational public forum on gas drilling with question and answer session
When: Wednesday, June 6th at 7 p.m.
Where: Calvary United Methodist Church, 3505 Vestal Parkway East, across from Friendly’s.
Who: Sandra Steingraber and Chip Northrup
Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., biologist, author, and recipient of the 2011 Heinz Award for her work on environmental health. Steingraber donated the $100,000 prize money to the fight against fracking in New York State and so convened the statewide coalition, New Yorkers Against Fracking.
Steingraber will be discussing the toxic effects of fracking chemicals on children, the elderly and the general population.
Autographed copies of Steingraber’s award-winning book, RAISING ELIJAH, will be available for sale. She is also the author of the trail-blazing book LIVING DOWNSTREAM.
Chip Northrup, MBA Wharton, a 30 year private investor in drilling rigs and oil and gas projects (and former gas company manager), is a whistle blower on the gas industry’s not-so-secret tricks.
He will address the pros and cons of gas drilling on Vestal and its residents . Will we be protected by the Department of Environmental Conservation?
“It’s imperative that Vestal residents be made aware of the dangers they face if gas drilling is allowed here,” says Sue Rapp, co-founding member of VeRSE. “This evening promises to be both informative and entertaining. Our speakers bring a wealth of information that everyone will benefit from hearing. There will be a question and answer period so our audience can get the facts.”
The event, co - sponsored by Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club, New Yorkers Against Fracking and Citizen Action, is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30. Refreshments.
EDITORS: Learn more about Sandra Steingraber at http://steingraber.com/. See a presentation by Chip Northrup at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzJTMjYQPmQ. Learn more about gas drilling at the local level at http://www.capitaltonight.com/2011/11/fracking-opponents-include-oil-industry-veteran//
For interview requests, please contact Sue Rapp, 607-743-4536.
Calvary United Methodist Church is not associated with any of the sponsors
First-hand accounts on the effects of Hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale in Western PA, focusing on the effects on the Allegheny National Forest.
Guest Speaker: Bill Belitskus, Board President –Allegheny Defense Project
Date: Monday, June 18 – 7:00 pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Location: Endicott Visitor’s Center, 300 Lincoln Ave, Endicott, NY
Bill Belitskus was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Southwest Pennsylvania. He holds a degree in Psychology from Duquesne University and a Masters in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Military Intelligence. He ran twice as an independent candidate for U. S. Representative in the 5th Congressional District. He homesteads with his wife Mary and lives in the passive solar house they constructed on their 25-acre woodlot in Kane, McKean County adjacent to the Allegheny National Forest. He has been hiking, camping and recreating on the Allegheny for over 35 years and has been an active ADP member since 1996. For the past 15 years, Belitskus has been monitoring forest fragmentation, water degradation, air pollution, and the loss of recreational opportunities in the Allegheny National Forest caused by oil and gas drilling. He speaks from the unique perspective of a Pennsylvanian “whose state has jumped into shale gas drilling and fracking, feet first with eyes closed.” Bill has been sounding the alarm about the riparian rights of landowners to protect waterways and the dangers of consumptive water withdrawal from rivers, streams and groundwater by the oil and gas industry. In this presentation he address’s the PA Legislature’s recent passing of Act 13, called the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the nation, because it elevates the rights of gas companies above the civil rights of people and communities. This legislation gives gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning law, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts upon patients from drilling contamination.