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Fracking rears its head at wine and beer summit; state streamlines compliance, invests in marketing


The Independent Oil and Gas Association has used today's New York Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit to press the Cuomo administration for an energy industry summit. Brad Gill, Executive Director of IOGA wrote to the governor:

On behalf of the more than 400 members of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, as well as the thousands of professionals who work in and with our industry, we ask you to convene a natural gas and oil development summit. I believe that a summit to hear ideas from industry leaders, large natural gas users and other stakeholders will help ensure that the natural gas industry continues to grow and create jobs in New York.

Earlier in the morning, Larry Bennett from Brewery Ommegang near Cooperstown, and Jennifer Clark from Eminence Road Winery, Long Eddy spoke at a press conference organized by the group  foodandwaterwatch.org about their concerns over water quality for their operations if fracking is allowed in the state.

Bennett pointed to a large dairy farm operation two miles away from the brewery that is suing the township for the right to lease acreage for fracking and:

"...the thing that we're concerned about is if this actually happens we all share the same aquifer, we all share the same groundwater...if anything happens to that water because of a leaking well or spills or whatever that gets into it, we don't have the ability to clean that water."

You can hear his comments, and additional comment from Jennifer Clark of the Eminence Road Winery above.

IOGA responds

We have also posted audio from Jim Smith, representing IOGA at the event, in conversation with Karen DeWitt. Smith says that drilling operations for natural gas have a long history in Pennsylvania and Ohio and that:

"...there aren't any wineries closing, vineyards are not being affected negatively as a result of this, so what we're seeing is more politics than actual science driving the discussion and that has to stop.."

Smith said that now was the time to bring the energy sector together in Albany to inform the debate.

Reports that participants at today's summit had been asked by organizers to refrain from bringing up the issues of hydraulic fracturing and wine sales in grocery stores has been denied by a Cuomo spokesperson.

In a followup from the Governor's office released after the meeting, the state has committed $1 million for an "and aggressive promotion and marketing campaign" promoting the products from the state's 450 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. 

In another post we'll look at a broad range of changes to regulations, and the establishment of a one-stop shop for manufacturer compliance.

More reporting on other outcomes from the summit later today from Karen DeWitt/WXXI and Marie Cusick/WMHT.