Union workers, farmers, landowners and local businesses on Monday announced they have formed a grass roots coalition striving for a chance to grow natural gas drilling jobs by tapping into the Marcellus Shale beneath many of New York’s counties.
The Southern Tier Residents for Economic Independence say they want “carefully regulated, responsible development of natural gas resources.”
“It’s outrageous that we can’t engage in what President Obama has called a boon to both the economy and the environment,” said Scott Colton, President of Carpenters Local 277. Others in the group are the Broome County Farm Bureau, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 112, Operators Local 158 and the Laborers International Union.
Coalition members say that the Southern Tier is one of the most depressed regions in the nation the past decade and is being denied a chance at economic progress by people who are from other parts of the state. They see hydraulic fracturing as that chance.
“It’s wrong for outsiders to block our efforts to improve our economy. We’re the only state in the nation with developable resources that isn’t moving forward,” said Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the Joint Landowners Coalition.
Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Citizen Action of New York in Binghamton and New Yorkers Against Fracking responded:
“. . . All it takes is a closer look at the groups involved in the latest pro-fracking coalition to see that they are the same as the last – Clean Growth Now – from two years ago. It’s time the gas industry stop these desperate attempts to spread misinformation and distract from the truth that there is strong opposition to fracking in the Southern Tier. We’ve seen our neighbors in Pennsylvania have to live with contaminated drinking water, negative health impacts and broken promises of economic benefits from fracking, and we do not want that for our communities.”
Source: Times Union NY
Photo credit: Workers move a section of well casing into place at a natural gas well site near Burlington, Pa. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson, File)