Fracking Debate at Binghamton U: Holko vs Steingraber

Last night MDN editor Jim Willis attended a “You Defend It” debate at Binghamton University between pro-driller John Holko, president of Lanape Resources (Buffalo area), and anti-driller Sandra Steingraber, a so-called “scholar in residence” at Ithaca College and founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking. The debate was on the topic of whether or not New York should allow high volume hydraulic fracturing (shale fracking). The format was interesting and refreshing–NO audience participation allowed. No cat calls or clapping or hooting characteristic of hippie anti-drillers was allowed. Also, the debaters were not allowed to question each other or respond to the other’s arguments. It was the moderator (Binghamton attorney Rob Kilmer) asking them questions in turn–and that’s it. The audience, which MDN would estimate at 250-300 people, heard the best pro and con arguments from both sides. Refreshing. And, enlightening.

If we could step back and make an observation about the poise and demeanor of the debaters, John Holko was relaxed and worked from no notes. Sandra Steingraber, whom we have perhaps uncharitably called nutty, was nuttier than ever. She looked tense and had many notes and every response to a question started and ended with how fracking leads to an environmental holocaust that’s killing Mother Earth. When grilled by Kilmer as to why fracking doesn’t seem to be creating widespread damage in Pennsylvania the way she portrays it would in New York, she responded (amazingly) it really is. Steingraber maintains “everyone” is hushed up by legal gag orders in PA that don’t allow residents to tell the truth of what’s happening. So you see, she was simply off the rails–yet again…

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