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Binghamton Mayor leads push to prevent fracking


A letter is on its way to Governor Cuomo asking him to oppose test runs of hydraulic fracturing in the Southern Tier. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan says the residents shouldn’t be treated as guinea pigs and more research needs to be done before fracking is allowed in New York.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The fracking debate continues in the Southern Tier as Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan joined environmental advocates, physicians, farmers and local business owners Tuesday to announce the release of a letter sent to Governor Cuomo.

"We came together as a coalition to say, 'look governor, support the executive order 41 that's in place to make sure everybody is treated equally in the state of New York' and we want the governor to listen clearly that there should not be a demonstration project. We care just as much about our children and future as much as anyone else in the state,” said Ryan.

The letter has almost 2,300 signatures. It asks the governor to oppose any test runs of Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing in the Southern Tier or anywhere else in New York State.

"If it isn't safe in the New York City watershed, then it shouldn't be allowed anywhere else. Until all these safeguards have been adopted, we don't think that the Southern Tier or any other area should be the learning experience for the fracking industry,” said Walter Hang, Toxics Targeting President.

The letter comes at a time when the DEC has not yet finalized permitting regulations and there is a statewide moratorium on fracking. But not everyone agrees with the terms of the letter. Some say they would even allow test runs on their land.

“It wouldn’t be experimental, because, let’s face it, they been hydrofracking, horizontal drilling since 1982. That’s 31 years, it’s not a new process,” said Victor Furman, Chenango Forks resident.

Proponents of hydrofracking say it's safe and could bring jobs to an area hit hard by flooding, but people here say it’s not worth the risk and more research needs to be done.

"If the Governor is really going to listen to executive order 41. Which, really, if you read it closely, he can't go forward. Legally he can't go forward because they have not done sufficient research into many different areas and so I hope that he's listening,” said Ryan.

A debate both sides are passionate about.

The city of Binghamton currently has a two year ban on hydrofracking. A lawsuit was recently filed with the state Supreme Court on behalf of five plaintiffs to overturn the ban.