There was a significant fact missing from “Sparks fly at a local pipeline hearing” on Oct. 25. It was the capacity of the “auditorium packed with opponents of hydraulic fracturing,” plus the extra chairs put out and the people standing.
I have read elsewhere figures of 750-800 attendees. It would seem to me that current and would-be elected officials would want to know this.
More than 100 signed up before the start of the session to make their comments at the podium to the FERC panel. After two-and-a-half hours (when I left), there were one farmer and one or two elected officials who supported the pipeline. Every other speaker opposed it. There were a couple of presenters from Pennsylvania. Everyone else introduced themselves as local property owners. Out of those landowners, a few were weekend residents who plan to retire to their homes in this area. Every one of these commenters was articulate, their comments specific to how the pipeline would affect the property they know personally.
Looking around the auditorium, one saw husbands and wives sitting together and local friends sitting in groups. In other words, the auditorium was “packed” with locals, not the hired activists that Gov. Cuomo thinks are among the opponents of hydrofracturing that this gas pipeline enables.