MDN took a field trip on Sunday afternoon to visit Recreation Park in Binghamton, NY (“Rec Park” as it’s known to us locals). The purpose? To see the sights and sounds of the Binghamton Big Splash, a one-day concert with eight local bands, coordinated by the Finger Lakes Clean Water Initiative, designed to oppose Marcellus Shale drilling in New York State.
Of particular interest to MDN was a tent on the premises hosted by the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY), there to present the pro-drilling side of the story. MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of meeting and talking with JLCNY President Dan Fitzsimmons and JLCNY Second VP Bryant La Tourette.
MDN visited an anti-fracking concert called “The Big Splash,” held at Binghamton’s Recreation Park on Sunday afternoon (see today’s companion article). While there were several hundred people on location enjoying music and food—maybe 400 or so by MDN’s count—it certainly wasn’t the “thousands” hoped for at the event. Local bands provided music and anti-fracking groups manned tables around the perimeter of a large tent, providing literature on the “horrors” of hydraulic fracturing.
But the big news of the weekend was from the “warm-up” event on Saturday. The Saturday event was a symposium on hydraulic fracturing held at the Riverwalk Hotel & Conference Center on Water Street in Binghamton. The symposium was hyped by the media in advance, but only 45 people turned up according to press accounts.
Instead of treating Marcellus Shale drilling companies as enemies or opponents, officials in Monroe County (West Virginia) instead decided to treat them as partners. Monroe is a rural county in southeastern WV with an underground water system mapped by cavers. Monroe sits atop a karst geological formation, which contains sinkholes, underground caves and streams that sink underground. Water under some parts of the county can travel miles in a single day, so Monroe officials are concerned about any potential spillages and about fracking in some areas.
Marcellus Shale drilling in the state has no special regulations as it does in other Marcellus states, and the most recent session of the legislature adjourned without passing proposed new regulations. So officials in Monroe County proactively sought out Gordy Oil, the only drilling company that has expressed an active interest in drilling in the county, to see if the two might work out an agreement, and it resulted in a “memorandum of understanding” between the two.