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.