Monday, March 8, 2010

Upcoming event on impact of gas drilling

Are These the Kind of Neighbors We Want?
Impacts of Gas Drilling Support Facilities

Saturday, March 13, 10 am
Steele Memorial Library Auditorium, 101 E. Church St., Elmira

Despite the promotional talk about the impending gas rush in our region, very little data has been provided to show that hosting thousands of gas wells and their attendant service facilities will be an overall benefit to the residents of the Southern Tier. To examine this issue, Citizens for Healthy Communities, a newly-formed group of citizens building a coalition across the Southern Tier, is hosting a series of educational forums. The first forum will be "Are These the Kind of Neighbors We Want? Impacts of Gas Drilling Support Facilities" on Saturday, March 13th at 10:00 am at Steele Memorial Library Auditorium, 101 E. Church Street in Elmira. 

This event will examine the operations of gas drilling support facilities, including the Schlumberger facility, being proposed for the Holding Point area in Horseheads.  Sue Heavenrich, an environmental journalist with Broader View Weekly, and Helen Slottje, senior attorney with the Community Environmental Defense Council in Ithaca, will be the featured speakers.

Both speakers will address a newly-released study, "Drilling Around the Law", by the Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC. This report states that gas drilling companies are injecting natural gas wells with millions of gallons of fracking fluids laced with petroleum distillates that can contain benzene and other highly toxic chemicals.EWG reports that in a worst case scenario, the petroleum distillates used in a single hydro-fracked well could contaminate more than 100billion gallons of drinking water to unsafe levels.  The Schlumberger facility in Horseheads will be storing petroleum distillates for fracking operations at hundreds of gas wells. "Drilling Around the Law" is online at .

Heavenrich will give an overview of the typical operations at a gas drilling servicing facility and the types of chemicals typically stored.  Heavenrich will discuss the impacts that hosting a major facility can have on a community and the surrounding region. She will discuss the plans for the Schlumberger facility and other service facilities proposed for the Holding Point area in Horseheads.

Slottje will highlight legal issues presented by hosting such facilities. She will address regulatory requirements applicable to gas drilling support facilities and will note legal remedies available If toxic spills or other environmental hazards occur.  Slottje will also discuss the economic costs to residents and taxpayers in communities that host large scale industrial development focused on fossil fuel extraction.  Slottje currently represents a group of Chemung County residents who are challenging the Village of Horseheads' decision to not require a full environmental impact review of the proposed Schlumberger facility. 

Following the featured presentations, the audience will discuss the issues presented and steps that can be taken to address community concerns. The forum is free and open to the public. For more information about the forum or about joining CHC, call Beth Miller at607-329-5883 or Rachel Treichler at 607-569-2114.

The mission of Citizens for Healthy Communities is to work cooperatively for healthy local economies through sustainable renewable energy and other green initiatives. CHC is committed to protecting the well-being of the land, water, air and families of this region through education and coalition-building. CHC members live in Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler and Yates counties. Future forums will address the cumulative impact of intensive gas drilling on the land, air, water, health and economies of our communities. 


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