Eyewitness Account of the Fracking Meeting

Reader Groundhum was kind enough to send over his notes from yesterday's meeting in Pulteney:

To say the meeting was well-attended would be understatement. Attendance estimates range from at least 300 (mine) to 500 (one of the organizers); the meeting room was SRO, and the anteroom was overflowing; the parking lot was full and cars lined both sides of Brown Rd. 500 might not be overstatement. Meeting started shortly after 1:00, and milling about and organizing (still mostly the former) was still happening when we had to leave around 4:00.

The speakers and their salient points (in the order in which they spoke).

Congressman Massa – Opposed, and always will be opposed. Will be meeting with reps of Chesapeake Energy. Two staff members will be working "virtually full time" on this issue. It took millions of years for the gas to form, and it is irresponsible to succumb to the pressure to extract it immediately. Take some time to understand the risks and consequences. And if anyone can possbily have any questions about my stance, read the op-ed from the Daily Messenger, which was also available as a handout and is online here.

Dr. Tony Ingraffea, civil engineer and member of the Cornell Fracture Group at Cornell University – An intense 15-minute course in engineering. Beyond understanding the process involved in engineering projects, do not fail to do the math when statistics are cited: At the volume Chesapeake proposes per their application to the DEC, there will be three truckloads an hour, 8 hours per day, 365 days per year, for 10 years. If 99.99% of the time everything works out with the hauling and injection process as Chesapeake predicts, that still means 1000 spills.

Walter Hang, CEO, Toxics Targeting – The DEC permitting process is geared toward facilitating granting of permits if all required information is submitted with the application. The DEC does not force clean up, and presented evidence of same from DEC records. Admonished attendees to form one group to fight UIC, and vowed to help whatever group emerges as the point in the fight. Also, the US EPA only considers the immediate property when reviewing a site. (Despite what one might assume or even consider common sense, what happens beyond the boundaries of a property is not taken into consideration in an EPA review.)

Art Hunt, Owner, Hunt Country Winery – Read a prepared statement expressing his dismay that something so absurd as injecting toxic waste into the ground would even be considered. Reiterated Keuka Lake Association's opposition (Art is also a member of the KLA board).

Dr. Richard Young, geologist/hydrologist, SUNY Geneseo – There is no map of the state's aquifers. There is no comprehensive map of the faults in the state. There is no way to predict what will give way when waste is injected or where it will really go. And, by the way, did you realize that when waste is injected, the pressure is only slightly less than the pressure used in the hydraulic fracturing process for extraction?

Steve Coffman, chairman, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes – This is a patently absurd proposition. The Committe is prepared to do whatever is necessary to try to stop it.

Rachel Treichler, Esq., attorney – An overview of the permit application process, and the small number of relatively weak points in this particular sequence of events. Perhaps the best last chance is if the owner of the Bergstresser site can reject Chesapeake if that option exists in the lease contract.

The big take away was that the suspension in the permit process is an opportunity to organize to be ready to fight. Take advantage of the time because once the clock restarts, the fight has to start.

The slides from the presentations will be available at the Pulteney Library for review, and also posted online at a location yet to be determined.

Media: There is a story & video from WETM here.

WHEC, Channel 10, was there, but I don't find anything on their website, and nothing ran Sunday evening.. Here's the story, thanks to an anonymous commenter.

And, you know about The Leader. I saw a reporter from the Dundee Observer (one of Yates counties many newspapers ;) there, and I'm pretty sure the Chronicle-Express had someone there. Also, a couple of other people with press badges that I couldn't read.


Actually it was News 10 Now which is the Southern Tier 24/7 Time Warner local news channel.

They have a story up:


Thanks for the fix.

And another synopsis of the meeting: http://www.preservethefingerlakes.com/id44.html

This website is the best. Thank you, Citizen Journalists!

The Observer-Review has published: http://www.observer-review.com/news.php?viewStory=1102

And, I forgot about speaker Paul Wilson, who is manager of Heron Hill Winery. He read and presented to Eric Massa a letter of opposition and dismay from the owner of Heron Hill, John Ingle.