WNYT: PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENTS SPEAK LOCALLY ABOUT FRACKING

 
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By: Mark Mulholland

They claim hydraulic fracturing contaminated their well and ruined their property values. Some Pennsylvania farmers came to the Capitol Wednesday to urge New York to place a moratorium on fracking.

The people from Northeast Pennsylvania say their legislators are turning a deaf ear to problems caused by fracking, and they hope New York won’t make the same mistakes.

It’s water, but it looks more like lemonade or tea. The Sautners of Dimock, Penn. brought the gallon jug to the state capitol to show off what they say is the collateral damage of hydrofracking, drilling for natural gas from underground shale.

“This is what happens to you when things go wrong from gas drilling,” said Greg Sautner.

The Sautners worry that their children will some day deal with health impacts of contaminated water.

“What’s the long-term effects? We don’t know yet. Hopefully my kids won’t have to find out about it some day when they get cancer or whatever,” said Sautner.

The Sautners came to town as guests of Senator Greg Ball of Putnam County, who is pushing for a moratorium hydrofracking.

“Pennsylvania moved forward without putting proper regulations in place and without putting manpower in place and that’s why there has been devastation. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen in New York,” said Ball.

Craig Stevens says property values where water has been contaminated have dropped 90 percent in Pennsylvania.

“This is the biggest Ponzi scheme on the planet. It makes Bernie Madoff look like he’s peddling Girl Scout cookies outside the grocery store,” said Stevens.

But an Albany attorney who represents the natural gas industry, says the claims of the Pennsylvanians are isolated and the Empire State is taking great pains to make sure fracking here is safe.

“To suggest that we need a legislative moratorium on top of the 3-and-half years that we’ve been shut down in New York State is just ludicrous,” said Attorney Tom West.

Senator Ball has the support of some Democrats in the Senate and the Assembly. He wants the moratorium to last through June of 2013. (ARTICLE)