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December 02, 2016
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Police halt fracking demonstration

As the officers and the protestors were discussing some of the finer points of private property rights and free speech, Jill Wiener, a member of CCSE, in an interview with The River Reporter, said: “I’ve spoken to Senator Bonacic many times about this fracking issue and we have not gotten what we want. And the truth is that when the drilling industry goes to speak with the senate majority, they get exactly what they want. They get the laws they want, compulsory integration, and all sorts of things that are not really in the public interest. And all we’re asking for is something that should be a gimme: we’re asking for a health impact assessment, an independent study of the health impacts that would come to New York State with gas drilling.”

Bonacic was not the only senator whose offices attracted fracking protests that day. Senator James Sewerd’s office in Courtland was visited by about 50 people who had the same message about a health impact assessment. Protestors also turned out to Senator Dean Skelos’ office in Rockville Center and Senator Tom Libous in Binghamton. Police did not disrupt those events.

During the budget process this year, the assembly included $300,000 to pay for a health impact assessment, but that was removed by the senate and by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The literature handed out by CCSE included the results of a peer-reviewed study called “Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health.” The study was released earlier this year by Dr. Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell University, and Dr. Michelle Bamberger, a doctor of veterinary medicine. The report examined 24 cases in six states.

A line from that report reads: “The most commonly reported symptoms were associated with reproduction. Cattle that have been exposed to wastewater (flowback and/or produced water) or affected well or pond water may have trouble breeding. When bred cows were likewise exposed, farmers reported an increased incidence of stillborn calves with and without congenital abnormalities (cleft palate, white and blue eyes). In each case, farmers reported that in previous years stillborn calves were rare (fewer than one per year).”