Single issue voters question Hanna on hydrofracking


ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Republican candidate for congress in the 24th Congressional District, Richard Hanna, faced a tough crowd Wednesday night in Oneonta.

Voters grilled Hanna on everything from his stance on a type of natural gas drilling, hydrofracking, to a potential conflict of interest.

Adrian Kuminski is part of a group called Sustainable Otsego. He worries the effects of horizontal drilling could be devastating to the environment.

"This has the potential to change Upstate New York it has the potential to transform this area so I think it is by far the over riding issue," said Kuminski. "It's a single issue in a sense, it deserves to be a single issue in this case at this time."

Kuminski didn't just come out to voice his opinion, he came to ask Hanna about his financial interest in drilling companies. Hanna's position on hydrofracking is contingent upon whether it can be done safely. But he's still listening to both sides of the debate.

"I think it would be appropriate for me to divest myself of them, especially any interest that had an interest in Upstate New York, which I have effectively done even though I'm not in congress, I'm not serving I have no conflict of interest, and their minor holdings I agree with the general notion the appearance of a conflict is enough to call it a conflict."

Wednesday the Arcuri campaign released this statement:

"Regardless of what Richard Hanna says this week about hydrofracking, the fact remains that he is heavily invested in oil and gas companies that seek to benefit from drilling in the Marcellus Shale. At the end of the day, voters will decide who they believe best represents their values and shares their vision for the future of Upstate New York."

Overall many voters voiced that they feel this issue is bigger than the election, when there are so many unknowns on the effects of horizontal drilling. Barbara Monroe is a mother of three and a member of Action Otsego. She worries how the effects of drilling could affect her infant daughter

"The fear is that it will bring all the chemicals that they pump in, as well as naturally occurring ones, into the aquifers and it will contaminate our water as it has all over the country," said Monroe.

This emotional and now political issue is one that Hanna says he approaches with skepticism, saying strict rules are needed for the least conscious of drilling companies.

What's On