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.
Bryant pointed out the message emblazoned along the JLCNY tent with the words “Health Risks of Sewage” (see the photo below). The message is a jab at Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, who helped organize and promoted the Big Splash event and is a well-known anti-drilling advocate. Bryant said if the good Mayor is so interested in clean water, perhaps he should concentrate on the operation of his own sewage treatment plant which recently released thousands of gallons of untreated raw sewage into the Susquehanna River. In other words, the Mayor’s opposition to drilling on the basis of “clean water” is a tad hypocritical.
And speaking of Mayor Matt Ryan, apparently he was not pleased to see the JLCNY tent erected at “his” anti-fracking event. The mayor is reported to have stopped by the tent and had “strong words of argument” with JLCNY representatives and only when shown a copy of their permit did he leave. It’s unfortunate that Mayor Ryan has decided to take sides and only represent some of his constituents instead of all of them.
After visiting with the JLCNY people, MDN moved on to the big tent and enjoyed a bit of blue grass music and grabbed a few more pictures of the sights. Reporting by the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (see here) confirms what MDN observed: Many people came just for the music and didn’t care a hoot about the politics of anti-fracking. But there were a number of groups and organizations with tables to hand out anti-fracking literature, like New York Residents Against Drilling (NYRAD).
MDN estimates there were approximately 400 people or so at the event during the mid-afternoon when we visited. People were having fun, with plenty of adult beverages around (brought in from the outside). Nothing satisfies like drinking beer from a mason jar.
All in all, a nice early summer afternoon.