I take issue with statements made in the article on June 21, “Supervisors appeal for responsible drilling.” “Responsible Drilling” is an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

I take issue with statements made in the article on June 21, “Supervisors appeal for responsible drilling.” “Responsible Drilling” is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Responsibility implies that after all is said and done and the gas companies have taken their money and left the area, they are responsible for the pollution and economic boom-bust cycle that they leave in their wake. They are responsible for the cancer clusters that pop up due to the influx of chemicals permeating the ground water and air. And yet they do nothing and can do nothing to mitigate these problems. I challenge these supervisors to come up with the rationale behind allowing the gas industry to plunder their towns while the DEC has not conducted the health and environmental impacts that concerned New Yorkers have been asking for. Not to mention the fact that the DEC employees, some 1,700 of them have said the department cannot oversee such a huge industry under its current state of insufficient staff.

I challenge these people who think drilling can happen responsibly to watch the new 20-minute short by Josh Fox, the anti-drilling activist and award winning documentary film maker of Gasland, who first brought the problems of the gas industry’s current boom to light, called "The Sky is Pink," available for free online. In his film he shows how the gas industry uses lobbyists and the advertising firm Hill and Knowlton, to convince the public and our public officials that gas drilling is not dangerous and plants seeds of doubt in the public consciousness in the science that has been stockpiling up against the practice of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing. Hill and Knowlton is the same firm that tried to convince us that smoking cigarettes was safe when all the while the tobacco industry had proof it caused cancer. Is this really what we want? To sacrifice our water, our health and our beautiful state to a bunch of money grabbing industrialists and politicians?

I take issue with the Supervisor from the Town of Sanford who said that, ”the debate is dominated by people from places drilling would never occur.” I live in New York state, I drive through the Southern Tier back to the Hudson Valley to visit my family on a regular basis. I don’t want to see that land marred by the gas industry. I also have friends who live in Binghamton and don’t want them to live in a sacrifice zone. I live next to Steuben County and I would hate to see that beautiful land turned into an industrial waste zone as well. I object to the supervisor of the town of Conklin who said “opposition comes from people who have no real stake in the matter. Their philosophical arguments should not trump our need to create jobs ...” I do not have a “philosophical argument” but a scientific one. If the people who want drilling would look at the science and the rate of failures of these drilling operations and the thousands of environmental regulation violations they have they would see that this is not some kind of hysteria on the part of concerned citizens who don’t want this industry to come to their town.

I am grateful that our town of Sparta has passed a moratorium on gas exploration. I am hopeful that they will construct zoning laws that will keep the industry out of our town completely; if for no other reason than our current zoning law does not permit for heavy industry, which this most definitely is. They went on a trip to Chesapeake drilling sites to see what it is like and came away with a feeling as though the operations had minimal impact. I challenge them to look beneath the slick presentation and pristinely kept and maintained “model” sites. Chesapeake has been sited for over $900,000 in fines for violations in Pennsylvania. They just settled a lawsuit in Bradford and Wyalusing counties for $1.6 million for water contamination. The big difference in this suit is that there is no nondisclosure agreement which prevents the plaintiffs from telling their story to the public like other suits have. I ask you, how safe could they possibly be? Don’t be fooled, New York. Say NO FRACKING WAY!

Samantha Gibson, Sparta