State Senator Greg Ball was at Mount Kisco Village Hall Monday to express his opposition to Governor Andrew Cuomo's hydraulic fracturing plan in upstate New York. Ball was joined by several Pennsylvania natives who experienced hydrofracking firsthand.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking," involves workers drilling through rock formations, such as shale, for natural gas by injecting a highly pressurized fluid. The fluid creates fractures in rock formations allowing for the extraction of natural gas.
Ball urged Cuomo to be tough on gas companies who want to drill in upstate New York along stretches of the Marcellus Shale rock formation. Marcellus Shale is a black shale formation that runs from Ohio and West Virginia through Pennsylvania and New York State.
He called on the Governor to visit Pennsylvania communities where hydrofracking has occurred.
"Maybe Governor Cuomo is focused on being President Cuomo and feels compelled to befriend this powerful industry," said Ball. "But all I know is that I went to Pennsylvania and I truly believe if the Governor did the same, he would put the brakes on his fracking express, taking time to get it right."
He went on to add, "New York State should be leading the charge to regulate this industry, to protect private property owners, farmers, sportsman and our environment by learning from the devastation in other states."
Residents in several Pennsylvania communities have fallen ill with health conditions that they claim were the result of hydraulic fracturing chemicals. In addition, many said the chemicals used contaminated their wells and water supplies.
Proponents of hydrofracking argue that extracting fossil fuels through hydrofracking allows the U.S. to become less dependent on foreign oil and creates jobs.
During Monday's news conference,Ball urged Cuomo to extend the public comment period on hydrofracking in New York to 180 days and create a Property Owner's Bill of Rights. His proposed bill (S5879) calls for:
Mandatory water and soil testing by an official government third-party for presence of chemicals used during the fracturing process prior to drilling.
All fracking companies must sign a Presumption of Causation Agreement with the State of New York.
Mandatory full reimbursement to property owners by negligent gas companies for 150% of the real estate's market value of property, based on estimates prior to drilling, and 100% of the cost for full remediation of soil and water. The company will also be accountable for full reimbursement of the land owner's legal fees.
Mandatory full remediation of soil and water, and free medical monitoring for life. All settlements are not to be taxed.
Allow local governments to enact or enforce certain laws and ordinances relating to oil, gas and solution mining.
Mandatory adherence to an environmental impact assessment process, similar to New York's SEQR Process, to assess the impact to the environment from hydraulic fracturing.
Mandatory disclaimers and warning statements on lease documents about the risk of contamination of soil and water, as well as the potential health effects, related to hydraulic fracturing spills.
When asked how upstate fracking affects those in Westchester County, Ball stated that the areas that will be used supply water to much of New York City and Westchester.
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