Thursday, November 17, 2011
CUOMO & DEC SUPPRESS PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN FRACKING HEARINGS
Public Attendance Proves Too Much for Limited Hearing Schedule in Dansville
Syracuse, NY – New York’s public hearings on fracking began on Wednesday, November 16, in the remote Western New York town of Dansville in Livingston County. For months advocates have urged Governor Cuomo and the DEC to extend the public comment period and hold additional hearings on the controversial drilling practice proposed for New York. However, public demand for additional hearings and an extended comment period have been ignored by Governor Cuomo. The public hearing in Dansville exemplified why the public deserves more time and more hearings. During the two sessions in Dansville over 270 people signed up to speak, however the DEC only allotted time for 120 speakers total.
“Clearly Governor Cuomo and the DEC have underestimated the public’s desire to participate in these critically important hearings,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, “Public engagement is essential to our democracy and to the much promised transparency of the Cuomo administration. People want be heard and deserves to be heard on this highly controversial issue.”
Yesterday’s hearing in Dansville was the first of only four public hearings on fracking. The DEC chose to exclude large portions of New York State from accessible participation in the hearing process, as was evident by the shortened hearing timeframe and remote location. “If Dansville generated over 270 people and the DEC sent 140 home without comment, then what can we expect will happen at the New York City hearing, where an even greater turn out is expected. The State has an obligation to provide a meaningful public input process and not just go through the motions of doing so.,” added Esposito.
“Over half the people who traveled to Dansville, waited in line for at least two hours, and then signed up to speak and were turned away,” said Brian Smith, Communications and Program Director, “It was immensely frustrating and needs to rectified immediately. This process undermines public participation and we are calling on Governor Cuomo to fix this..”
The hearings continue today in Binghamton and November 29 and 30 in Sullivan County and New York City.
More information about CCE’s fracking campaign can be found at www.citizenscampaign.org/hydrofracking.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org
updated by tbono 11/17/11