I am writing to take issue with an article you published (“New rules on drilling raise ire, skepticism”) Dec. 12. The otherwise well-written article, about the ongoing struggle over the fate of fracking in New York state, inadvertently misleads readers by not fully attributing an authority who is quoted for the article.

The article focuses on the regulatory process overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, or DEC. Those for and against fracking agree the DEC has bungled the job, since the official end of the statewide moratorium in 2011 and Gov. Cuomo’s one-year extension expired last June. Depending on whom you listen to, the DEC is either over-zealously pro-industry or pro-environment.

In the article, Cobleskill Village Mayor Mark Gallaso is quoted. It says he is one “… who backs the gas industry in its quest to drill in New York,” and he is identified as “Cobleskill Village Mayor Mark Gallaso.” However, Mr. Gallaso is also the owner of a stone quarry and stone products firm whose business includes contracts with fracking companies operating in Pennsylvania. And to his credit, Mr. Gallaso wrote a letter to the editor of the Cobleskill-based Times Journal about this two summers ago. In that letter, he outlined his business but said he did not see any conflict of interest. While I admire his openness, I do not agree.

What is journalistic protocol in such a case? Given that both mayor and Mr. Gallaso are one and the same, and that in both roles he may play a central role in whether fracking comes to Cobleskill — should Gov. Cuomo green-light permits for the state — I ask that in the future The Daily Star acknowledge his dual roles when quoting or referring to him about the issue.

Richard Levine


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