"Fracking: What it means for you and your community" is the topic of a FORUM program to be held at Berkshire Community College's main campus on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. in Room 111 of the Koussevitzky Arts Center. It will be repeated later that day at 7:30 p.m. at the First Church of Christ Congregational, 27 East St. (Park Square) in Pittsfield. Both programs are free and open to the public.
The program will feature remarks by Kelly Branigan, who is both a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Real Estate Broker, and Julie Huntsman, who is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Brannigan is a resident of the Town of Middlefield, NY and through her work with Middlefield Neighbors she recognized a need for community education as to the impacts being seen across the country related to heavy industrial gas drilling (i.e. fracking). Huntsman, who has lived in the town of Otsego since 2008, led the grassroots effort in her town to ban fracking, then ran for and won a seat on her town board.
These two very dynamic speakers have been extremely busy making presentations at many venues in upstate New York, spreading word of the dangers to an area if it allows fracking to come in as a way of extracting natural gas from beneath vast layers of shale. They make very clear what can happen to the quality of drinking water, the atmosphere, property values and to the level of pollution in the ground, lakes and streams of an area.
Kelly Branigan has testified at a hearing by the New York State Assembly on Fracking. In Middlefield, she has worked to raise funds for legal defense, trying to increase awareness of the fact that, contrary to the information often printed in the news, those in upstate communities overwhelmingly do not want gas drilling and all that is associated with it in their rural towns. They recently had their first court hearing on the issue.
As Brannigan and Huntsman describe fracking and its impacts, they will talk about their personal efforts to prevent it from taking place in their communities and surrounding areas of upstate New York, plus they will also offer suggestions for ways their work can be duplicated in other locations. They particularly want New Englanders to know why this issue is so important - nationally - and not just to New York residents or other citizens living directly over exploitable shale. In other words, why should anyone care? What's the fuss and uproar over this "clean" energy???