Fracking advocates bring experts to Albany

By Matt Porter

May 30, 2013 Updated May 30, 2013 at 9:22 PM EDT

Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York showed up in Albany drilling experts in tow to dispel what they describe as "myths" about hydraulic fracturing.

The JLCNY is an advocacy organization in support of fracking in New York.

The seminar was made up of a panel of experts that included scientists and members of the drilling industry.

Don Siegel, a hydrologist from Syracuse University, said water contamination at a large scale is highly unlikely, according to recent data.

Instead, the biggest problem would be a leak of fracking fluids.

Something Siegel said is being taken into account with New York's proposed regulations.

"In New York state, there will probably be a completely contained system where there aren't going to be open pits available for this stuff to potentially leak," Siegel said, "And the construction of the pits themselves are going to be held to much higher standards to prohibit kinds of leaks."

Siegel said if a leak were to occur, it would be localized to the location of the spill and not seep seep into underground water supplies.

Mark Boling, an industry expert who works for Southwestern Energy, admitted gas drillers have made mistakes, particularly because of poor regulation.

However, he said New York's proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing would be the most protective in the face of such problems.

"I think there's a lot of things that industry currently does, and a lot of things industry could do to make the risk manageable and something that was appropriate," Boling said.

Meanwhile, landowners like Sandra Davis from Deposit are becoming more impatient with the state's approach.

She said she and her husband may have to sell her land because they are having more difficulty affording property taxes.

She has two young boys, and another child on the way.

"We've had to borrow the money the last few years," Davis said, "And finally the people we borrow the money from can't do it anymore, so we had to wait for our income taxes to pay our land taxes. Funds are just not there anymore, I don't know how long we can hang on."

She said the current moratorium, which has lasted four years, has been long enough.