08/21/2012 01:28 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

Taking on Fracking

My name is Dan Lamb, and I am running for Congress at the literal, geographic epicenter of the debate over hydraulic fracturing. New York's newly created 22nd congressional district includes all or part of three of the five counties in which Governor Cuomo may permit fracking without an independent assessment of the health, environmental and economic impacts. 

This plan could have catastrophic consequences for the environment and well-being of Upstate New York families, and that is why I have decided to take a strong stand against it moving forward. I firmly believe that the Southern Tier should not be used as the guinea pig for New York's shale gas experiment. If shale gas extraction is not safe everywhere in New York, it is certainly not safe anywhere in New York.  

My opponent, on the other hand, has invested millions with large oil and gas companies, including some of those responsible for environmental contamination in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Congressman Richard Hanna voted repeatedly to maintain subsidies for the oil and gas industry, but called investments in renewable energy "pathetic." He has not signed onto the FRAC Act or made any effort to address the risks of hydraulic fracturing. We can't trust him to take this issue seriously.

The choice couldn't be clearer. This is the first race in the country about hydraulic fracturing. It is a referendum on unsafe, unstudied drilling, and it's a race we must win. The good news is that a strong majority of residents in this part of New York agree with me. In a recent poll of the 22nd congressional district, 57 percent of voters took a stand against hydrofracking, even though the region has been bombarded for years by millions of dollars in industry-funded advertising. Upstate New Yorkers are smart folks who simply aren't buying the lies and propaganda, and they don't tolerate indifference to our environment and public health.

We've seen the videos of families lighting their faucets on fire. We've read of the blowouts, explosions and spills. We've heard of the dead livestock and sick children, sullied water and noxious air.  We've learned there are millions and millions of gallons of contaminated drilling waste with no safe place to go. But what we haven't seen are enough leaders in government who are willing to act responsibly to protect public health and the environment before it's too late.

New York's moratorium must remain in place, and all current plans to allow drilling must be stopped. It is unthinkable to permit drilling before the Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing study and a comprehensive public health impact assessment are completed. At the state level, the Department of Environmental Conservation should scrap the current Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and address the concerns raised by the EPA and thousands of New Yorkers.

At the federal level, I will fight to close industry loopholes by passing the FRAC Act and the BREATHE Act, which will ensure that our nation's baseline environmental laws apply to fracking nationwide. In addition, I will fight for tough liability standards to ensure that shale drillers aren't just given a slap on the wrist when they foul our environment.
The New York State League of Conservation Voters has endorsed my candidacy because my credentials on protecting our environment are clear. I hold a MPA in Environmental Policy from the Maxwell School, I'm a longtime member of the Sierra Club, and for the past 15 years I have served as a senior aide to a national environmental champion, Congressman Maurice Hinchey. He had the foresight to oppose unregulated and unstudied hydraulic fracturing in New York's Marcellus Shale, and now that he is retiring, I am ready to carry that banner forward.

As a lifelong environmental advocate who believes that our path to prosperity must include clean, renewable energy, I am ready to stand up to Albany, Washington, and the shale gas industry to protect the health and safety of New York families, but I can't do this alone. Visit this website to learn more.