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Residents Deliver Giant Check to 'Buy Back' NY Senator's Support from Fracking Interests

Energy

Southern Tier Residents

Southern Tier residents delivered a $202,000 giant eight by three foot fake check to Sen. Libous' (R-NY) Binghamton district office today to "buy their senator back" from pro-fracking business interest and from big oil and gas lobbyist. $202,000 is the same amount of money Sen. Libous took in campaign contributions from fracking oil and gas interests in the last two years, according to the good government group Common Cause. Community residents presented the check and demanded that Sen. Libous put science and the people’s interest above oil and gas interests, that Sen. Libous stop saying “the Southern Tier supports fracking” and that he stops taking contributions from pro-fracking business interests. The bottom line: residents demanded that Sen. Libous represent his constituents, not big oil and gas industry.

Residents of the Southern Tier in New York State deliver a check to Sen. Libous at his Binghamton district office today, "buying him back" from pro-fracking lobbyists.

The outrageous sum of contributions from pro-fracking interests is made worse by recent revelations that Sen. Libous has questionable personal ties to companies and relationships with individuals who stand to financially benefit significantly from fracking.

For years, Sen. Libous has been a staunch proponent of fracking, advocating for it in the legislature, in the press and speaking at gas industry sponsored rallies. He claims the Southern Tier overwhelmingly supports fracking, even as the polls show that is not the case. This year, Sen. Libous vowed to prevent a moratorium bill from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

“Southern Tier residents are fed up with Sen. Libous being a puppet of the oil and gas industry," said Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Citizen Action New York. "Sen. Libous has long misrepresented his constituents on fracking in place of his own financial ties and outrageous campaign contributions from the oil and gas lobby. The fact is that a majority of Southern Tier residents don’t want fracking because the truth is that fracking threatens our health, our water, our air and our way of life.”

“It’s unconscionable that Sen. Libous not only acts the part of the oil and gas industry’s puppet but is also undermining the values of Democracy by preventing a vote on a fracking moratorium in the senate,” said Alex Harris of Democracy Matters. “Adding insult to injury, he opposes campaign finance reform which would prohibit our elected officials from being bought and sold like Sen. Libous is by the oil and gas industry.”

Residents delivered the eight by three foot check for $202,000.00 to Sen. Libous’ district office at 44 Hawley Street in Binghamton, NY.

“Sen. Libous has unquestionably espoused gas industry propaganda for years without giving the actual science and evidence about the harms caused by fracking a second thought," said Scott Lauffer of the Sierra Club. "The only thing Sen. Libous has represented on fracking is big oil and gas.”

"This is the reality of Campaign Finance Reform in NYS. The state Assembly passed the Fair Elections Act, the Senate has two bills that have been introduced (The Fair Elections Act and The Integrity in Elections Act), the Governor introduced Campaign Finance Reform Act, this week," said Lawrence Parham, upstate campaigns manager. "Lastly, the vast majority of statewide polls show that there is bipartisan majority support for Fair Elections (72 percent Siena poll) all across the state. We need the IDC [Independent Democratic Conference] and the Senate Republicans to let the Fair Elections bills come to the floor for a vote because it will place limits on big money’s influence in our state politics."

Although the gas industry’s spokespeople and propaganda campaign assure the safety of fracking, New Yorkers are not buying it and remain opposed to fracking, while the truth is coming out that fracking is far from safe and that the gas industry cannot be trusted. A recent investigation by the Times Tribune in Pennsylvania revealed many cases of water contamination from fracking.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

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Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

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Protesters gathered outside US Bank and Wells Fargo locations around the U.S. to protest investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2016. This photo is from a protest outside US Bank in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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