Southern Tier Residents & PA Residents Harmed by Fracking Rally Against Rob Astorino’s Broken Promises and Support for Fracking

Binghamton – Southern Tier residents rallied outside of Rob Astorino’s event in Binghamton this morning, decrying Astorino’s broken promises on fracking and his desire to “try” fracking on the Southern Tier. They were joined by residents from PA harmed by fracking who brought fracked water and documentation from PA government about widespread water contamination. Recently, Astorino said he would tour fracking sites in Pennsylvania. Now Astorino recently said he will not tour fracking sites, citing the fact that Cabot Oil & Gas would not allow media to participate in the tour. (Obviously, Cabot has a lot to hide and does not want to reveal the toxic and dangerous nature of fracking sites).  After saying he would, he has refused to respond to Southern Tier residents’ substantive concerns about fracking, detailed in a letter sent in February, or meet with concerned residents. He has consistently denied the overwhelming body of science showing that fracking cannot be done safely and would be disastrous for communities.

Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Binghamton said, “Southern Tier residents rallied today against Rob Astorino’s anti-science support for fracking. Astorino’s broken promises and refusal to respond to substantive concerns about fracking underscore the fact that fracking cannot be done safely and must be banned.”

The protesters pointed to the significant and rapidly growing body of science showing inherent dangers and harms of fracking. They noted that there are new studies approximately every week showing harms of drilling and fracking, and none showing it’s safe. Yesterday, for instance, a new study found dangerous levels of air pollutants near fracking sites and associated infrastructure, including high levels of cancer-causing chemicals. And just last week, another study found high levels of air pollutants near fracking sites in Ohio.

Roger Downs, conservation director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, said, “Enough Scientific studies have shown that drilling and fracking poison the air. People living in the zone of impact have no choice about the air they breathe and no one should have to fear raising their families in a toxic cloud of chemicals. Mr. Astorino should stop touting gas industry propaganda and  show more concern for the people his policies would put in harms way.”

The group noted the irony that Astorino canceled his tour of Pennsylvania fracking sites given that Cabot Oil & Gas would not allow the media to come. The gas industry has a long history of secrecy, including refusing to disclose all chemicals and mixtures in fracking fluid, relying on non-disclosure agreements with affected residents, and even working to pass a doctor “gag rule” in Pennsylvania.  Cabot is also responsible for the second highest percentage of over 240 confirmed cases of water contamination from drilling and fracking in Pennsylvania.

Ray Kemble of Dimock, PA, a former gas industry employee. whose water is contaminated from drilling, joined the rally on Friday. He brought a jug of his contaminated water, and said, “What does it tell you that Cabot wouldn’t let journalists see their fracking operations? They have something to hide, a lot, including the fact that fracking is toxic, polluting and extremely dangerous. This industry contaminated my water, and brings disaster with them wherever they go. Astorino is flat wrong to support fracking.”

Cabot also has more violations than gas wells and has been forced to pay millions of dollars in fines and settlements.

Background:

On February 28, 2014, residents from across the Southern Tier sent Rob Astorino a scientifically-based letter explaining why he is wrong to want to “try” fracking on the Southern Tier.

Recent polling shows that the Southern Tier is decidedly opposed to fracking. See Siena College’s July 30, 2014 poll results, “Southern Tier, Hudson Valley Oppose Fracking 51 to 35 Percent.

Independent science overwhelmingly shows inherent dangers and harms from fracking. See hundreds of key findings and peer-reviewed studies in the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking.

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