A Natural Gas Rally in Binghamton Brings Them Out of the Woodwork
Last Saturday, there was a rally at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York featuring two men running for office, both of whom are openly opposed to natural gas development in New York State. The rally brought out about 150 people, both pro and con with respect to natural gas. The latter thought it would be a great opportunity for their traveling band of the disgruntled to gather at the park but ,when the supporters of natural gas got word, they gathered as well.
We hear the same arguments over and over again at these events. Natural gas opponents contend natural gas development is somehow unproven and unsafe. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Natural gas is being developed in over 30 states in the U.S. without major incident. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency, along with several other states, have unequivocally said natural gas development has not contaminated their drinking water aquifers. Yet, with all the evidence on record, with all the Federal and state officials who have gone on record to say hydraulic fracturing is safe, our opponents persist in the fiction, as if just a few more tellings of the falsehood would convert to the truth.
The fun part of the morning was witnessing a good-sized group of natural gas supporters gather in the crowd so their voices were heard as well. Far too many times, natural gas supporters have been too quiet, depending on local and state officials to do the right thing without speaking up for it themselves. They aren’t into the pushing or rudeness to government officials we see so often from some of our friends on the other side.
One example of such rudeness would be the sign depicted to the right and displayed by a Town of Coventry resident previously referenced on these pages for protesting supposed natural gas health, water, and air impacts of natural gas development while smoking a cigarette.
Is this any way to treat an individual who been voted into office by a majority of his constituents and represents a state of nearly 20 million people? One hopes not, but see the video below for more antics from that side of the debate.
There was also a certain amount of irony and hypocrisy involved in this rally as opponents of fossil fuels stood up to speak against natural gas, petroleum products, “big industry” and all the usual targets. Notwithstanding this, take a close look at the same sign depicted below from behind. It is made of plastic, as are her shoes and her purse. It appears natural gas and petroleum products are only a problem when they’re developed here in our region, but are fine if used to satisfy the fashion and protesting needs of fossil fuel opponents. They just don’t want local folks struggling to keep their land to be able do so through a natural gas lease or royalties related to a project in their backyard.
Be sure to watch the video below to get a good sense of the messaging at the rally.
There was a man at the rally holding a sign reading, “Windsor wants safe water.” Well, who doesn’t? Such are the arguments of so many of our opponents, who seem determined to assert their own moral superiority by suggesting no one else has any morals. Another man standing next to him was holding a sign saying, “Safe Drilling is a Myth.” Really? Well, tell that to these folks:
“I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
Lisa Jackson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (May 24, 2011)
“There is no evidence that the hydraulic fracturing at issue has resulted in any contamination or endangerment of underground sources of drinking water (USDW). … Moreover, given the horizontal and vertical distance between the drinking water well and the closest methane production wells, the possibility of contamination of endangerment of USDWs in the area is extremely remote.”
Carol Browner, Former Clinton EPA administrator (June 2, 1995)
“There have been fears that hydraulic fracturing fluid injected at depth could reach up into drinking water aquifers. But, the injection is typically done at depths of around 6,000 to 7,000 feet and drinking water is usually pumped from shallow aquifers, no more than one or two hundred feet below the surface. Fracturing fluids have not contaminated any water supply and with that much distance to an aquifer, it is very unlikely they could.”
Mark Zoback, Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University and member of the Secretary of Energy Committee on Shale Gas Development (August 30, 2011)
The rally was far from one-sided, however. Check out some of the natural gas support we got to see in the videos below:
We also were fortunate enough to see some people standing in the crowd supporting natural gas development.
You can see supportive signs behind the speakers in the videos below as well.
Nevertheless, no event featuring our opponents would be complete without an attempt to rain on everyone’s parade. One woman thought it would be entertaining to dress up as a cowgirl and make fun of the suffering farmers hoping to develop their natural gas resources. It was more than a little creepy and certainly politically perplexing to watch our opponents skewer the majority of the voting population in upstate New York as candidates for office chuckled.
Both candidates and Mayor Matt Ryan spoke to the natural gas opponents in the crowd. Ryan, of course, is the main reason the City of Binghamton has a pending lawsuit, as he did not follow all the necessary steps when pushing through a City natural gas ban/moratorium, but he still seems very proud of it. One of speakers was the individual running against Broome County Executive, Debbie Preston. She completely supports safe and responsible natural gas development in New York State, as we have previously noted, while he took the NIMBY position.
None of this quelled the spirits of the natural gas supporters present. It was great to see so many of them out on a beautiful Saturday morning to express their support for natural gas development. You can see a group of supporters who sported their signs and clothing advocating natural gas in the video below.
All in all, there were about 150 people who turned out to the rally. Revealingly, the minute supporters of natural gas were interviewed by WICZ Fox 40, several natural gas opponents left their rally, ignored their speakers, and stormed over to try and get in on the interviews. They actually yelled at Fox 40 reporters for giving the pro-natural gas side time to speak. It was as if they thought they could ban that too. So goes the debate when our friends on the other side are involved.