Appalachian Basin

Binghamton Landowners Parade for Gas

Bill, Nicole and Rachael,
The EID Northeast Marcellus Initiative Team

What is said inside the walls of the building is usually where the story lies with a public hearing, as it was in Dansville SGEIS hearing, on which we jointly reported a little earlier.   The Binghamton SGEIS hearing, though, was an entirely different ball game.  Indeed, what happened inside tended to be secondary in importance to the parade, press conference, competing demonstrations and action in the waiting line to get in and speak.  Your EID Marcellus Team was, once again, on the ground grabbing interviews, documenting what was happening and ensuring our side of the story was told.  Frankly, however, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York didn’t need any help getting their message out.  They were energized, organized and at the top of their game.
Early Risers Line Up to Speak

The line began forming at 5:30am Thursday morning, with individuals willing to stand outside in the brutal cold for over six hours for a chance to give the New York State DEC their story. Holding signs saying “New York Unemployment Line” and “Drill a Well, Bring a Soldier Home,” they made the point that natural gas development is good for the region and good for America, too.

Karen Matousic of XTO Energy drove six hours to speak at the hearing, rose earlier and then stood alongside these determined landowners for five hours to discuss her company’s promise to deliver safe, responsible natural gas development to New York and offer her company’s support for the SGEIS, a consistent theme among both landowners and industry representatives.

Competing Demonstrations

While the Dansville hearing produced some rather bizarre activity, the Binghamton event generated some demonstrations on both sides.  The opposition demonstrations started earlier with a few determined anti’s making noise, but not a lot of sense, as this video demonstrates:

And just when you thought you’d seen it all, can you see the hypocrisy of this picture of Kim Michaels of NYRAD?

You might want to put down the cigarette before you start preaching about health and air quality.

The Parade

To show their determination and solidarity, 100+ members of the Joint Landowners Coalition of NY marched through the streets of Binghamton carrying signs in support of natural gas development.  Carolyn Price, organizer of the parade and member of the Windsor Coalition, said their trek was met with well wishes and honks of support by those passing them along the way.

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The JLCNY and Clean Growth Now Press Conference

As the parade marchers finished their trek to the hearing, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York and the newly formed Clean Growth Now coalition comprised of business associations, held a crowd rousing press conference. Hundreds cheered and shouted words of support as speakers spoke about the need for natural gas development in New York. Pictures of this mood-setting event can be seen below.

ANGA-NY and Energy Citizens Press Conference

Following the landowner and business press conference, supporters packed a banquet room in the nearby Binghamton River Walk Hotel as county elected officials and industry representatives held their press conference. Have a look at some of these videos from it, especially the 3rd one.

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And to sum it up, one landowner present for the press conference had a simple message for the DEC and Governor Cuomo.


Good Times with Good People

Supporters of natural gas were able to come into the Grand Ballroom at the Binghamton River Walk Hotel for some food, music and a chance to warm up. Throughout most of the day there were 200 people inside with countless others braving the cold in shifts.

Statewide “no frack rally” brings “bust” loads of people

Anti’s touted that Binghamton would be where they held a statewide protest to ban hydraulic fracturing, busing in thousands for the event. On Thursday, though, only one bu arrived carrying only 22 people. While they still turned out a good number of people, pro natural gas supporters outnumbered them 2:1, splitting the difference between being in line, rallying in support, or organizing inside the hotel. It was quite an incredible scene to witness!

And to end the night…

We came out of the hearing to chanting…and not the typical voices we expected to hear as snow fell on Binghamton. These kids, proudly representing a local labor union, summed up the energy and sentiment that we saw throughout the day. See for yourself.


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