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Local Davids Vs. fracking Goliaths

Nov 22, 2010 9:16 am

SULLIVAN COUNTY – The Sullivan County-based Catskill Mountainkeeper environmental organization, founded three years ago to battle Catskills casino development, new power lines through the Delaware watershed, and then the rise of what is being called gas franking, is calling on President Obama’s administration not to approve any more natural gas drilling permits until the EPA’s study of the impacts of hydrofracking has been completed, according to a report from the Mid-Hudson News Network this morning.

Mountainkeeper said that while the United States, especially in the Marcellus Shale region, have reserves of natural gas and there is interest in developing them, they are “enormously concerned about the idea of fast tracking natural gas exploration and the risks such actions will bring.”

Mountainkeeper volunteer Bruce Janklow, who is the group’s spokesman on this subject, said it is important for no more permits be granted for now.

“We want to make sure that the government takes careful note of the experiential things that have happened since hydrofracking has been utilized and identify what the threats are and basically not drill until we know that drilling can be done safely, and more than knowing that it can be done safely, know that it will be done safely,” he said in the MHNN news story this morning.

Mountainkeeper has launched an email campaign to ask the president to hold off until the EPA has completed its study and in the first several days of the campaign, some 800 people have sent messages to the White House.

According to noted Catskills geologist Dr. Robert Titus, a Greene County resident who teaches at Hartwick College in Oneonta, geological evidence shows no significant gas deposits under the eastern Catskills or in the Hudson Valley region.

The state assembly is currently considering whether to pass a moratorium, passed by the state Senate last summer, in the coming weeks.