Friday, April 6, 2012

New Yorkers to Senator Grisanti: Ban Fracking

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2012
Contact: Rita Yelda, Food & Water Watch, 716-507-2077,

New Yorkers Demand Ban On Fracking, Grisanti Responds With Wastewater Legislation
Constituents Respond With Over 700 Phone Calls In One Day

Buffalo, NY- Yesterday, Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-60), chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, introduced five bills in the State Senate which purport to address concerns regarding the practice of hydraulic fracturing, known as “hydrofracking”.

Senator Grisanti has claimed the legislation would prevent another Love Canal, but Lois Gibbs, a mother of two children who narrowly survived permanent health damage as a result of Love Canal chemical exposures in the Niagara area has expressed concerns about unanswered questions on the health effects of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

“When Love Canal was built, we were told that the chemicals produced would be safe—but they weren’t. Fracking advocates say the same thing. It’s time to learn from past mistakes,” said Lois Gibbs.

Sen. Grisanti's proposed legislation does not alter the underlying safety issues raised by the controversial technique of natural gas extraction. The new bills would develop tracking systems for potential fracking sites and waste produced, regulate the use of wastewater from the fracking process and establish an online system for notifying the public within 48 hours of fracking discharges self-reported by fracking companies. Sen. Grisanti’s bills have not garnered widespread support among organizations closely monitoring this critical public health issue.

"Grisanti's proposals are nothing but a fig leaf. They allow him to pretend he cares about the safety of our water, but they really just pave the way for the fracking of New York to begin," said Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party.

Yesterday, New Yorkers responded to Grisanti’s legislation with over 700 phone calls to the Senator’s office demanding a ban on fracking. As chair of the committee, Grisanti has the ability to move forward legislation to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing in the extraction of oil and gas in New York, but has failed to support the bill and put it up for a vote. Instead, he has released legislation in regards to fracking wastewater.

"There is more to fracking than just the waste it creates, and these bills do not take that in to consideration" said Rita Yelda, organizer for Food & Water Watch. "The legislation introduced by Senator Grisanti is full of loopholes and would fail to protect western New Yorkers from fracking's threats to our health, economy, and environment. Senator Grisanti's constituents have sent him a loud and clear message that they will accept nothing less than his support for a fracking ban in New York."

Sen. Grisanti’s constituents staged a press conference in December 2011, presenting him with petition signatures and letters from constituent organizations asking that he support bill 4220, a ban on fracking. In March, constituents also staged a candlelight vigil outside of Sen. Grisanti’s office to remember the instances of water contamination that have already occurred across the U.S.

"These bills say it's okay for the gas industry to invade New York, without taking in to account the plummeting quality of the air, water, and land when drilling begins in a community. As chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, it’s his duty to ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. He is ignoring his constituents' requests. We expect more from him-- both in district and as a leader of this important Committee. Grisanti's proposed legislation in no way prohibits or prevents future accidents, spills, and contamination of resources," said Yelda.

For this press release plus additional information about hydraulic fracturing and the state-wide coalition 'New Yorkers Against Fracking', click here.

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