The Democratic candidate for the 22nd Congressional seat declared his position on hydrofracking during a news conference on Thursday and had harsh words for his opponent’s stance on the issue.
Dan Lamb, of Binghamton, said hydrofracking would have negative impacts throughout the state if a moratorium is lifted, including the counties represented in the 22nd district.
“I’m not convinced it can be done safely,” he said, speaking from a field on the organic farm The Old Path Farm.
Lamb said the issue of hydrofracking has been frequently brought up to him by constituents in the district. He said the statewide moratorium on drilling should remain in place, and comprehensive public health, environmental and economic impact studies should be conducted, so policymakers can know all of the risks associated with fracking.
Lamb also called for the elimination of several loopholes in existing law that allow the shale gas industry to skirt important environmental protections.
Lamb held an anti-hydrofracking rally on Tuesday in Binghamton, with elected leaders present. He said, however, his opponent Richard Hanna has failed to define his position on this important and controversial issue.
“He’s been a very passive member on this issue,” he said.
In a news release, Lamb also said that Hanna has “has invested as much as $2 million in the oil and gas industry, and holds stock in many of the companies that want to drill right here in New Hartford....Instead of leading, this Congressman pretends to be an innocent bystander and that has to change. I challenge anyone to name one thing Congressman Hanna has done to keep this region safe from the risks of hydraulic fracturing.”
“I've consistently said that I would only support fracking in New York if it is proven by science to be safe and would not put our water supply at risk. The decision to access natural gas should not be made based on politics or emotion, but rather the facts,” said Hanna in an e-mail statement.
He continued, “Hydraulic fracturing has the potential to produce significant positive economic benefits, but should not be done at the risk of our aquifers. Fracking should continue to be primarily regulated by bodies closer to the people — state and local governments.”
Hanna also said that if hydrofracking should be permitted in New York state, then it should be a transparent process and include “appropriate regulations such as chemical disclosure that make the most sense for our unique region.”
“As President Obama has stated, it is imperative that we develop our natural gas resources safely, and I am hopeful that Governor Cuomo's decision will meet that standard,” he said.
Hanna currently represents the 24th Congressional district, but due to redistricting, would represent the 22nd district if re-elected.
Page 2 of 2 - The Old Path Farm, and the region, is located over the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale, which could be targeted if the moratorium is lifted.
“It is [a concern],” said Nancy Grove, co-owner of The Old Path Farm about hydrofracking. “I think that it’s been proven in other states where it’s practiced that it’s a toxic industry.”
Grove said the eight-year-old farm grows over 100 varieties of vegetables and has about 100 families who rely on their produce.
“Small-scale organic farming is the fastest growing sector of the food economy,” she said. “To threaten that is a big mistake.”