Binghamton DEC Hearing will be Ground Zero This Week

pro-drilling rallyThis week will be important for the effort to get shale gas drilling moving in New York State. The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting a series of four public hearings nominally to accept comments on the most recent changes to the draft drilling regulations, also known as the SGEIS (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement). MDN says “nominally” because each of the four events will be used by both those for and against drilling to try and show their side has the most support.

One of the four hearings, in Binghamton on Thursday of this week, is likely to be the largest hearing outside of the New York City hearing later this month. MDN has received several email notices from landowner groups in favor of drilling, and from one group opposed. Both say similar things: These hearings are vitally important.

Unlike mainstream media, MDN openly takes a position—we are proudly pro- (but safe) drilling. The overwhelming evidence from thousands of wells already drilled shows drilling can and is being done across the country in a safe manner. There’s no reason New York should not immediately release the regulations they have been dithering over for more than three years. Enough of this “but we have to wait for one more study” nonsense. Now is the time. Three and a half years is long enough.

MDN encourages all those who support drilling and who live in New York to attend one of the four hearings (listed below).

Here is the email received from the CNY Landowner’s Coalition:

Dear Friend of the CNY Landowner’s Coalition and Natural Gas:

This week the DEC will host regional public hearings on the Draft SGEIS and the future of gas development in New York State. THERE IS NO WAY TO OVERSTATE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT EVERY MEMBER OF OUR COALITION ATTEND A REGIONAL MEETING.  The anti-gas activists will try to over whelm us to make the political statement that we don’t care and we don’t matter.  The dSGEIS has regulations that will make large parts of NY, if not the whole state, uncompetitive.  The fact exists that if those two situations are allowed to persist you may never have the opportunity to lease your land.  ONLY THE ACTIVE PRESENCE OF EACH OF US AT THESE HEARINGS CAN STOP THE EFFORTS OF OUR OPPOSITION AND SEND THE VISUAL MESSAGE THE DEC NEEDS TO HEAR!

For these reasons WE MUST generate the largest turnout of supporters yet to convey the undeniable message that we expect the dSGEIS to completed soon and in a way that keeps NY “open for business”.  Our coalition alone has nearly 2,500 households representing about 8,500 individuals.  WE MUST HAVE AT LEAST 1,500 PEOPLE ATTEND THESE EVENTS FROM THE CNY LANDOWNER’S COALITION ALONE.

Choose a hearing location closest to you and please plan on attending.

• Wednesday Nov. 16:
Dansville Middle School Auditorium, 31 Clara Barton St., Dansville, NY 14437

• Thursday Nov. 17
The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington Street, Binghamton, NY, 13901
NOTE: Since Binghamton is central to many coalitions, there will be special activities starting at 9:30 in the morning, a press conference at 10:00 AM, and events throughout the day.  So come early to link with your fellow coalitions.

• Tuesday Nov. 29
Sullivan County Community College, Seelig Theatre, 112 College Rd, Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759

• Wednesday Nov. 30
Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY, 10007

Comments will be accepted in written and oral format. Or you can sit silently to show your support.  All hearings will have an afternoon and an evening session from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, respectively.  However doors will open one hour before the start time to register speakers.  Lines are expected to form well before the doors open, so please show up early and stay late to show your support.

Go to this site (// to better understand the hearings and gain tips if you plan to comment.

It’s getting near the finish line.  We can’t slow down now, but must finish with a flourish.

Together, we will accomplish more,

Brian Conover
On behalf of the steering committee

And here is the email received from NYRAD:

KILL the Revised Draft SGEIS
Rally outside the Binghamton DEC Hearing
Bring your signs and your voices to:
The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington St, Binghamton NY
Thursday, November 17th
Rallies at 11:30 PM and 5 PM
Please come early.
Fill the seats and the streets!

Hello to all NYRADians and friends of NYRAD,

In the next few weeks, Governor Cuomo will be deciding whether or not to allow fracking in New York. The NY DEC (New York Department of Environmental Conservation) is holding four Public Hearings this month to review environmental impacts and regulations for fracking NY.

Binghamton is considered ground zero for fracking in New York. It is critical to demonstrate that the Southern Tier is strongly opposed to shale gas extraction, particularly fracking.  Governor Cuomo will use these hearings to gauge the level of opposition and the political consequences of fracking, so we are calling on all friends and neighbors across the state to come to Binghamton and tell the DEC and the Governor that WE DON’T WANT FRACKING in New York because it is NOT SAFE.

Come to the Binghamton hearing and rally on Thursday, November 17th. The governor has listened to the gas industry. Now he needs to listen to us. The time has come to show that we the people stand strong in our resolve; we are more important and more powerful than the gas industry’s money.

At the Rallies and inside the Hearing we will be exposing the countless flaws and inadequacies in the proposed fracking regulations.  Speaking slots at the Hearings will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, so plan on getting there early if you want to reserve a time when YOU can talk to the DEC.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Binghamton.

~from all the folks at

More info:

A large coalition of groups opposed to fracking is working to coordinate a strong showing for the DEC’s Binghamton hearings on Thursday, November 17 at the The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington Street, Binghamton. Many thanks to all involved!

We are reaching out to invite YOU and your local organization to come to Binghamton on Nov. 17th.

There will be two hearings, from 1-4 PM and 6-9 PM.  For the first session, we will gather by 11:30 AM for a rally and press conference with speakers at 12 PM.  Then we will head inside to publicly comment to the DEC – both actions are crucially important.  A second rally and press conference is scheduled for 5 PM outside the theater.

We are looking for volunteers to help coordinate in their area.  Please share this message, help facilitate carpooling and stay in touch for further details as they emerge.  We will be preparing a number of materials to help us stay connected throughout the hearing so please keep in touch by replying to this email or contacting Elaine Perkus of NYRAD.

While there are other hearings, a loud, resonating voice out of Binghamton is essential.  If you can attend, please do.  If you cannot come to Binghamton, or can attend more than one hearing, here is a complete list of all the hearings:

Nov. 10, 7-10 PM – Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta, 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta  (This is not an official DEC hearing, but all notes will be transcribed and shared- a great warm-up for the 17th!  Registration starts at 6:45 PM.)

Nov. 16, 1-4 PM & 6-9 PM – Dansville Middle School Auditorium, 31 Clara Barton Street, Dansville, NY (Registration upon arrival.)

Nov. 17, 1-4 PM & 6-9 PM, The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington Street, Binghamton, NY  (Registration upon arrival.)

Nov. 29, 1-4 PM & 6-9 PM, Sullivan County Community College, Seelig Theatre, 112 College Road, Loch Sheldrake, NY  (Registration upon arrival.)

Nov. 30, 1-4 PM & 6-9 PM, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY  (Registration upon arrival.)

Dec. 1, 7 PM – State Theater, 107 West State Street, Ithaca, NY.  (A second unofficial public hearing for those who have not yet made comments.  Doors open at 6 PM.)

  • Timothy R. Ruggiero

    As an affected landowner, whose family and quality of life has been seriously impacted by drilling, and has been in this ‘fight’ for more than two years, I can attest to all of the negatives associated with drilling. But here’s the real issue: Those opposed to drilling refer to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as the entire process. Those in support of, especially the Industry themselves, refer to fracking as only one stage of the drilling process. In my view, both sides are correct, and this is why the Industry continues to maintain that there’s not one documented case of ground water contamination due to hydraulic fracturing, in spite of the fact that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of cases, and documented, that show that ground water is and has been contaminated. The issue is to the true cause, not whether or not it actually exists.

    To make matters worse, we largely focus on ‘fracking’ (whether you define that as ‘drilling’ or just one stage of it) and Industry is by and large, silent on the many other aspects of drilling: The destruction of home values (our own $300K home’s value was reduced by more than 75% to $78K, and that was prior to the installation of two compressor stations within 600 feet of our home, each one on opposite ends of the home. The drill site, leaking condensate tanks, noisy compressor station, flare, and gas processing machinery are the first thing one sees when approaching our home, literally 20 feet off the street. The other compressor station is out our front door on our neighbor’s property, and the pond that lies between only serves to greatly enhance the noise volume.) Pipelines that are installed that alter the use of that property (a pipeline runs through the other side of our property, and is far enough inside our property that forever alters the use of the land.) Compressor stations, which I’ve already described, and heavy truck traffic that has ruined the roads, and the constant arrival of those trucks at all hours of the day, and the noise they make when pumping the toxic water. Due to either surface spills or some aspect of the drilling, our well water is laced with drilling chemicals. We were fortunate enough to foresee the need for both a pre-drilling water test and a post fracking water test to prove beyond any doubt and to document this issue. The drilling company too over and used more than 4 of our 10 acres, and planted the well heads right in the middle. In spite of the many, many spills and the fact that the entire area is contaminated to the point where very little vegetation grows, this area of the property has also been forever altered. The drilling company ‘reclaimed’ this area, seeded it with grass seed at least 4 times, but there’s zero use of this land for any purpose, other than to serve as a Industrial work area. It used to be a horse pasture, and as often as the drilling company returns with drill rigs, workover rigs, heavy trucks, and a constant flow of work men, we can no longer use this land for our intended purpose-to provide an area for our horses to graze. Every single time we have challenged, or complained, the response has always been the same: “We have the right to be on your property and to run our business as we see fit to do so.” Translation: Since you do not own the mineral rights, you have no property rights whatsoever. Since we, the Industry, decide what is ‘reasonable’, we can do whatever we want, as much as we want, whenever we want. 

    We have complained and sought help from the TRRC (drilling operations and compressor stations) the TCEQ (toxic air emissions and compressor stations) the County Sheriff, County Commissioners and County Judge (compressor stations, noise) and all have stated the exact same thing: “There’s nothing we can do. We do not regulate compressor stations or noise.” In my home state of Texas, our two regulatory agencies, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also maintain this fallacy; however, in recent months, we’ve seen TRRC Commissioner David Porter, through an OpEd piece in the Ft Worth Star Telegram, acknowledge ground water contamination, but likely from ‘poor (cementing) casings, machinery failure and surface spills. So, on one hand, I’m glad to see that the largest fan club of Industry in Texas is finally telling the truth-or at least some of it. But, in the same article, Porter quickly blames ‘regulation’ and refers to us ‘surface owners’ as ‘Unsatisfied landowners’ as a way of diversion from the core issue.We have royally screwed up out state due to drilling; there are thousands upon thousands of ‘unsatisfied landowners’ across the state, and this is with ‘regulation’. Every day, it seems, there is another story about someone’s life getting turned upside down by this reckless and careless Industry. 

    In spite of all this, I am still a proponent of drilling-but it must be done safely, and there must be strict accountability, and severe consequences when regulations are violated. 

    I strongly propose lengthy setbacks from homes, schools, churches and other areas where people  gather and live at. I am strongly in favor of mandatory pre-drilling and post drilling water tests, paid for by the Industry/Operator but conducted by an independent lab. If pre-existing contamination exists, then an independent review needs to take place to determine the cause prior to any drilling. If post-drilling testing shows contamination, then the Operator should be required to purchase the home and property at full market value, plus additional funding to cover relocation costs. I am also in favor that the Operator install the latest and best technology to eliminate (not reduce) odors and emissions, and install technology to capture ALL fugitive emissions. Lastly, admit when you’re wrong, accept the fact that spills and leaks are going to occur, and in knowing this, take responsibility for your actions. 

    The people on the Marcellus, particularly in New York, have a unique opportunity to see that strict regulations and enforcement is put in place. Look to Texas and the West to see what has been allowed to happen. 

    Probably the most important item to keep in mid, is that Industry should not have any voice in these discussions. None. Industry’s bad acts, accidents, spills and leaks and destruction of property has been well documented time and time again-what sense does it make to continue to allow these people to have a voice? They are not the ones that ever have to live with the consequences of their own actions. 

  • Anonymous

    Timothy- Thank you for sharing your expirience. What is unfortunate is that in TX the drilling companies were allowed to drill almost anywhere they wished. There was no real regulations set up due to the process being so new. I agree with almost everything you say and us NY’s who are for drilling, are also for safety and responsibility from the drillers/gas companies themselves. NY will be the strictest in the world when they finalize their regulations. We all hope that this ever evolving industry will do their part in working with landowners to provide the nation with an affordable energy source that will be safely extracted by responsible drillers for years to come.