Well over 100 people attended last Thursday’s Beyond the Ban held at Ithaca’s Unitarian Church. The Bioscience Resource Project hosted and introduced the event. First to speak were veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Cornell professor of molecular medicine Robert Oswald, authors of “The Real Cost of Fracking,” who updated the public on fracking’s documented harmful health effects on humans and animals. They discussed their original findings, new results from follow-up studies, and the implications of fracking for the food supply. They also pointed out the many risks facing NY State from current and intended fracking infrastructure — risks that do not disappear even if drilling itself is banned. Links to information about their book and to copies of all their published papers are available: Bamberger and Oswald Fracking Publications.

After their joint presentation, Sandra Steingraber (author of “Raising Elijah” and “Living Downstream,” and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College) spoke about the plans of Texas-based company Crestwood Midstream to store highly pressurized and explosive natural gas in salt caverns near Seneca Lake. Natural gas storage in these caverns already has federal approval. The NY State DEC has temporarily halted their plans to store liquified propane and butane (LPG) in the caverns. Steingraber described the efforts of We Are Seneca Lake to prevent gas storage in the salt caverns due to the concerns that scientists and others have raised about the instability of the caverns and the likelihood of accidents that threaten the ecology and water quality of Seneca Lake, plus surrounding businesses, farms and residents.

A video of both presentations will be made available as soon as possible.

After these presentations attendees were invited to talk in person with the speakers and the many Seneca Lake defenders attending the event. Other local public interest science groups were also available to talk to after the event including The Bioscience Resource Project and Independent Science News, CSI (Community Science Institute) and Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE Healthy Energy). Buffalo Street Books sold the author’s books and have additional copies at their store.

The Bioscience Resource Project would like to thank everyone who participated in this event, especially the speakers who were so generous with their time and gave us such a valuable update on the post-ban fracking situation in NY State. We would like to thank Ithaca’s Unitarian Church for donating their space for the event at short notice, Carmi Orenstein for her publicity help, Bill Huston who helped with A/V, Susan Boutros who generously donated and managed the refreshments and Birds and Beans who kindly donated coffee for the event. And a big thank you to all the Bioscience Resource Volunteers and Board members who helped with publicity or stood out in the cold re-directing traffic to the new venue.