Binghamton’s former mayor is gearing up to fight against hydrofracking in New York State once again. Matt Ryan will be part of a large group of protestors who plan to travel to the state capitol on Wednesday. As our Elyse Mickalonis explains, it’s an issue that Ryan was passionate about during his term and one he plans to take on now out of office.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It’s been almost a week since Matt Ryan held his last day in office as Binghamton’s Mayor. But that’s not stopping him from tackling a Southern Tier issue that’s been on his radar throughout his eight year term.
"This industry promises a lot and doesn’t deliver. They pollute and don’t clean up, they say they’ll provided people with clean water if it gets polluted and they don’t. We’ve seen it across the border,” said Matt Ryan, Former Binghamton Mayor.
On Wednesday, Ryan will head up to Albany for the second year in a row to protest hydrofracking during Governor Cuomo's State of the State address. Ryan, Citizen Action and others are urging Cuomo to say no to fracking and instead focus on renewable energy.
"We are going to be there, calling on Governor Cuomo to be a leader on renewable energy, be a leader in energy that doesn’t sacrifice our kids’ futures, so that is really why we’re getting on a bus, bright and early and giving up a weekday,” said Isaac Silberman-Gorn, Citizen Action Environmental Organizer.
Last year's event drew more than a thousand people. Citizen Action officials say they expect to see more than 2,500 people this year. But not everyone is on board. Those in favor of fracking say they feel it can be done safely and would create jobs.
"They look and cherry pick info and try to put that out, it’s a scare tactic. The people of New York ought to be infuriated that this is going on and it happens. If they looked at this at all and looked into our federal government at the studies that have been done, they would be really upset with New York State,” said Dan Fitzsimmons, Joint Landowners Coalition of New York President.
While neither side agrees on the issue at hand, they do agree on one thing, that a health impact study is long overdue.
"I was there last year as well, the governor didn't invite me to the State of the State, I think, because of my anti-fracking position. I'm going again to state my same position, which is: we need a comprehensive impact study of this, not done in secret, not released after the fact, but we need to make sure, before any drilling is considered in this state that we have a comprehensive healthcare study,” said Ryan.
Ryan says he's not only attending Wednesday's protest, he's also looking to reactivate his law license to fight fracking, as well as help families in Pennsylvania, who he says have been hurt by the industry.
The Rally is slated for 11:30 Wednesday morning at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
Fitzsimmons says the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York members are focusing on their lawsuit against the state and will not be protesting there, they feel their influence will be felt in the voting booths come 2014.