Crowd gathers for gas coalition rally in Bainbridge, anxious for Marcellus drilling to begin

BAINBRIDGE – The rain stayed mostly at bay on Sunday as hundreds of landowners and elected officials came together at General Clinton Park for a pro-drilling rally.

Safe, responsible drilling was the mantra repeated from the podium over and over again as invited speakers urged New York State to complete well permitting regulations and allow drilling into the Marcellus Shale to begin. The theme of the event was, “Our Land - Our Rights - Our Future.”

More than one million people in New York State, not just landowners hoping to lease to drilling companies, are being affected by the hold up at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, they said. The industry portends to brings jobs and spur economic development for all of New York.

“We are a coalition of 23,000 people, but more than one million are being affected by the government’s decision to slow down our economic progress and try to take our land rights away. This is our land to sell if we want. Why let Albany dictate what we do with it? Collectively we need to protect our rights,” said Carol Robinson, a former pipeline company employee.

Tim Whitesell of the Tompkins/Binghamton Coalition, and supervisor for the Town of Binghamton, said the economic development from marketing the state’s natural gas holdings “should be number one in Albany, but Albany is where this is being held up.”

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