The Times West Virginian

Headline News

August 24, 2013

Pro-, anti-fracking sides turn out in New York

Along President Obama’s bus tour

More than 500 chanting and sign-toting supporters and opponents of natural gas drilling through hydrofracking got their say Friday along President Barack Obama’s bus tour route into the Southern Tier, where the debate over whether the state should expand fracking is hottest.

Not in attendance on Obama’s visit to the state University at Binghamton was Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’ll decide whether to allow fracking. Although a decision on the dicey political issue has been promised for months, Cuomo says he awaits a public health study by his administration.

Cuomo had met Obama in Buffalo on Thursday but didn’t join him in stops through central New York.

Among the crowd were members of New Yorkers Against Fracking, who aimed to sway Obama’s pro-fracking position and influence Cuomo’s decision. The organization feels the process, which involves injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground to unlock gas deposits, is a threat to the environment and public health.

“We hope to show the president that he needs to look at the science and ban fracking across the nation,” group member John Armstrong said. “Governor Cuomo is no stranger to anti-fracking protests, and we hope he sees momentum building against fracking.”

Julia Walsh, of Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking, said Obama “clearly put politics and gas interests over every-day Americans.”

Their signs referenced Obama’s famous “yes we can” campaign slogan: “Yes, we can ban fracking.”

Neil Vitale, an organic dairy farmer for 45 years with 80 cows in Steuben, was among those along Obama’s route. His farm is 5 miles from Pennsylvania, which allows fracking and has seen it flourish beyond projections, according to a report this month by Bentek, a company that analyzes energy trends.

Vitale said he has two sons who want to continue his business and drilling would help them buy equipment, which is “almost impossible for a small dairy to do anymore.” He said a drilling well on his farm “will secure a family’s finances for a generation, if not more.”

Many other pro-fracking residents of the long economically distressed Southern Tier and groups of business leaders were holding a rally and urging Cuomo to take Obama’s lead. Obama has pushed the hydrofracking of natural gas trapped in deep shale deposits as a way to boost the economy and make the country more independent from energy-producing nations. The relatively recent boom in drilling in other states that share the same shale deposit as New York — Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — has led to jobs and economic gains.

“President Obama’s visit to Binghamton today could have been in celebration of the revival of the Southern Tier,” said Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York. “He has often spoken of the importance of natural gas exploration as being critical to our nation’s environment and economy. Instead, we must join together again and ask the governor to lift the five-year moratorium here in New York. There is no reason for this abusive delay.”

Cuomo met Obama on Thursday in Buffalo for the beginning of the president’s two-day tour but didn’t venture to the Southern Tier, roiled by the fracking issue.

The strongest supporters of what he calls safe drilling for natural gas include the Southern Tier’s powerful Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, a Republican whose district includes the Binghamton area. He is a close ally of Cuomo, who has spent the summer pushing job-creation measures in upstate New York but has focused mostly on tourism.

Libous, who was invited to the event, said if he got a chance to talk to Obama, “I will tell him I’m appreciative of his stance on fracking.”

1
Text Only
Headline News
  • Governor: Closing Boston amid bomber hunt ‘tough’

    Several days after the Boston Marathon bombing, Gov. Deval Patrick received a call in the pre-dawn hours from a top aide telling him that police officers outside the city had just engaged in a ferocious gun battle with the two men suspected of setting the bombs and that one was dead and the other had fled.

    April 20, 2014

  • Everest avalanche reminder of risks Sherpas face

    The rescuers moved quickly, just minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared down the mountain, ripping through teams of guides hauling gear.
    But they couldn’t get there quickly enough.

    April 20, 2014

  • Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

    A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.

    April 19, 2014

  • Everest avalanche kills at least 12

    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak. Several more were injured.

    April 19, 2014

  • Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

    Pro-Russian insurgents defiantly refused Friday to surrender their weapons or give up government buildings in eastern Ukraine, despite a diplomatic accord reached in Geneva and overtures from the government in Kiev.

    April 19, 2014

  • Clinton to Obama: Many parallels

    Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton’s White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    As Clinton prepared for an August 1994 news conference in which he hoped to build public support for his struggling — and ultimately unsuccessful — health care overhaul, he told his advisers: “A lot of them want to know they can keep their own plan if they like it.”

    April 19, 2014

  • Obama voices skepticism on Russia in Ukraine

    President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments.

    April 18, 2014

  • President defending health-care law good for some Democrats

    President Barack Obama’s full-throated defense of his health-care overhaul seems perfectly timed for Democrats who want their party to embrace the law more enthusiastically.
    At a White House news conference Thursday, Obama noted that health insurance enrollments under the new law are higher than expected, and costs are lower.

    April 18, 2014

  • Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions — for now

    In a surprise accord, Ukraine and Russia agreed Thursday on tentative steps to halt violence and calm tensions along their shared border after more than a month of Cold War-style military posturing triggered by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

    April 18, 2014

  • Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race

    The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.
    The actions of the man, whose mother said he had a mental disorder, rattled nerves as Boston prepared for the annual race, but authorities said they did not consider it a security breach.

    April 17, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads