Frack ban draws ire from business interests

Dec 18, 2014

While anti-fracking organizations are celebrating a state ban against the gas extraction process, gas and business interests say they are outraged. WBFO's Eileen Buckley has reaction from both sides.

Past anti-fracking projects in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"We are going to look at everything the DEC and DOH put out and we are going to determine the best path forward," said Greg Biryla with Unshackle Upstate.

The statewide business advocacy group is slamming the decision, calling the ban a "tremendous blow" to the Upstate economy.   

Biryla calls it a lost opportunity that would have generated millions of dollars.

"The economic impact is undeniable. It's hard to quantify, but we're talking tens of thousands of jobs across the Southern Tier and that would trickle Upstate into Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, across the state really," said Biryla.

Biryla disputes the conclusions made by the New York State Acting Health Commissioner, saying he would not allow his family near a fracking site or allow drinking water contaminated from fracking chemicals.

"I just that's being a little hyperbolic. When you look at 30 other states who have looked at this, looked at the evidence, determined it's safe and can be done in a responsible fashion, why is New York the only one? I think that's because there was a well coordinated, well funded misinformation campaign funded by the radical environmentalist," stated Biryla.

Anti-fracking organizations protested for several years, saying the process causes toxic water and air.

"Fracking has no place in New York or anywhere," said Rita Yelda, Western New York organizer with Food and Water Watch.  They are celebrating a victory. "Governor Cuomo has said this is not the end. We are going to see a lot of lawsuits coming up and I don't think this is the end. We're talking about a billion dollar oil and gas industry," noted Yelda.
        
The Independent Oil and Gas Association issued a statement saying it is not "entirely surprised" by the ban. Executive Director Brad Gill said their "hearts" go out to Southern Tier farmers and landowners claiming their livelihoods are now in jeopardy  without the economic benefit of fracking. 

Anti-frackers are now calling for New York to turn to renewable energy. 

Senator-elect Marc Panepinto released the following statement regarding Wednesday’s landmark ruling on hydraulic fracturing in New York: 

"After years of uncertainty, I am pleased that the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation – under the direction of Governor Cuomo – have ruled against allowing high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing in New York State. The results of these multi-year studies confirm what the residents of Western New York have long suspected; that hydrofracking poses too great a threat to our environment and public health to be permitted in our state. I want to thank Commissioners Zucker and Martens for their thorough work and Governor Cuomo for allowing science to prevail in deciding on this critical issue.”

Statement from Rep. Tom Reed on Tuesday’s announcement regarding hydraulic fracturing in New York State:

"I am extremely disappointed in today’s announcement from Governor Cuomo which bans hydraulic fracturing. This move effectively blocks the development of natural gas and oil resources in New York State. This is devastating news for the Southern Tier economy and its residents who are struggling every day. This decision makes it even more difficult to replace the good jobs that have already left due to New York’s unfriendly business climate. Once again Albany shows that it wants to enact an extreme liberal agenda rather than care about  individual property rights and job opportunities. I care about Southern Tier residents and will fight for them every day. Simply put this extreme liberal agenda is not right and not fair for our future."