Southern Tier Thanks Governor Cuomo for Banning Fracking

FOR IMMEDIATE RLEASE
December 23, 2014

Binghamton – Residents and leaders of grassroots organizations from across the Southern Tier held a press conference on Tuesday to release an open letter to Governor Cuomo in support of his decision to ban fracking and thanking him. The letter explains that a majority of residents across the Southern Tier are relieved and thankful for the ban, noting that they are no longer living in the toxic oil and gas industry’s crosshairs, afraid that their water and air would be poisoned or that their communities would be turned upside down. They also responded to critics who have been misrepresenting the Southern Tier’s support for and response to the ban, including Ed Cox and Senator Tom Libous, and spoke to yesterday’s poll showing widespread support for the ban.

The open letter from eight Southern Tier grassroots groups is available here: http://www.savethesoutherntier.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Southern-Tier-Open-Letter-to- Governor-Cuomo.pdf

The letter states, “As residents and leaders of grassroots organizations from across the Southern Tier, we sincerely thank you, Governor Cuomo, for banning fracking, a wise decision that has given all us a reason to truly celebrate this holiday season across the region.”

It notes the weight of living in fear in the oil and gas industry’s crosshairs, and that, “We are all breathing easier since your administration’s decision to ban fracking in New York. Now we are relieved and thankful, because you stood up to the oil and gas industry, making good on your promise to listen to the science and protect the health and water of all New Yorkers. Thank you.”

The letter assures the governor that those who have been quick to criticize his decision “do not speak on behalf of the majority of Southern Tier residents” including critics Ed Cox and Tom Libous. It notes that Ed Cox has

Criticism from both of them, as well as others, came without even looking at the science, which the letter notes is “reckless and irresponsible.”

The letter concludes, “Thank you for protecting our health, families, communities, and future generations.”

At a press conference in Binghamton, Southern Tier residents also pointed to the Quinnipiac University poll yesterday that showed New Yorkers support Governor Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking by 55 percent to 25 percent, including 56 percent to 30 percent upstate. That’s in line with a millions of dollars invested in a fracking company, Noble Energy, which has a horrendous track record of spills, water contamination, and releasing toxics into communities. And a Bloomberg News investigation revealed that Senator Tom Libous has personal financial ties to fracking, and has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas industry interests.

Siena College poll this summer that found Southern Tier residents opposed to fracking by 51 percent to 35 percent.

As the groups said, the truth is that a majority of Southern Tier residents oppose fracking and are ecstatic about the ban on fracking.

Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Citizen Action of New York, and on behalf of the Save The Southern Tier network, said, “We sincerely thank Governor Cuomo and his Administration for banning fracking in New York! Residents across the Southern Tier have been celebrating and are literally sleeping and breathing easier because of Governor Cuomo’s courage in standing up to this toxic industry. This decision protects our local economy and homes from air and water contamination. As the science overwhelmingly demonstrates, fracking is not and cannot be done safely.”

Cindy Westerman, member of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy, spoke to the conflicts of interest of critics of the ban, “Both Ed Cox and Senator Libous have personal financial interests in fracking. Ed Cox has millions of dollars invested in Noble Energy, a fracking company with a horrendous track record of spills, water contamination, and of releasing toxics into communities. Likewise, a Bloomberg News investigation revealed that Senator Libous has personal financial ties to fracking, and we know that he has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas industry interests. It’s hardly a surprise then, that they both criticized the decision without even considering the science that overwhelmingly shows that drilling and fracking would have harmed our health and our communities.”

Joan Koster of Itaska Valley Farm, said, “As owners and operators of a New York State Southern Tier farm producing organic herbs and vegetables, we want to thank Governor Cuomo for preserving the purity of our water, air, and soil from the toxic heavy industrial development of fracking.”

The New York State Department of Health’s review found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking.

New York State’s health and scientific community has also pointed to a significant and rapidly growing body of evidence showing risks and harms of fracking. The independent experts group Concerned Health Professionals of New York has released a Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, a 103 page summary of the evidence with 448 citations.

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