New Hartford, NY (WIBX) - The Democratic candidate for New York's newly redrawn 22nd Congressional District says he's against hydrofracking, adding that additional studies are needed to fully weigh all the risks associated with the controversial drilling practice.  Dan Lamb made his position on the issue clear while attacking his Republican opponent, Congressman Richard Hanna, for not doing the same.

Standing in front of a vegetable garden at Old Path Farm in New Hartford, Lamb says Hanna's silence on the issue is because he has invested over $2-million in the oil and gas industry and stands to benefit financially from hydrofracking operations in New York State. "He's [Hanna] been asleep at the switch on this issue and I wonder why...he's either fully disinterested, or he has a reason for not being forthcoming, either way it doesn't work because this issue is too important to this region," Lamb said.

The candidate goes onto say, "And so, I asked, 'why is this guy so quiet on this issue?' So, I did a little research and discovered, 'oh, this is interesting...he's got over $2-million dollars worth of investments in this industry, and I think in a campaign, in an election where voters are trying to decide who to trust, what motivates politicians, people should know that I'm motivated by protecting this region, I'm motivated by my knowledge about this industry and the impacts of hydraulic fracturing."

Lamb produced a detailed list of Hanna's alleged investments in 19 different oil and gas companies. Some of the names on the list are Hess, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, with a breakdown of how much Hanna has invested in each company. "The large international corporations tend to reap all sorts of profits from this [hydraulic fracturing] but what we see when we go down to Pennsylvania--when we talk about jobs--we see a lot of out of state license plates; we see cars from Texas and Louisiana and Oklahoma. The hired guns that come up here to work on the drill rigs...they're not New York jobs. The companies won't agree to just hire New York labor," he said.

Lamb says the fracking industry is a "boom, bust" style of economic development. "When these drill rigs are finished, they move on, and it's not going to be a long turn lift to the economy," he said. Lamb suggests state leaders focus on long term solutions to improve the economy such as bringing back manufacturing jobs. "And have companies establish themselves here again," he adds.

Nancy Grove and Pete Bianco are co-owners of the Old Path Farm. Grove says she's not sure if she'll vote for Lamb, but does like his stance on hydrofracking. "We are excited that he's taking a stronger stance than Hanna on the issue, and that he has specific legislation that he wants to improve. I think those ideas are excellent and very concrete," she said. Lamb says if elected, he will work to change several loopholes in the Clean Air and Water Acts, that currently allows the shale gas industry to misclassify its hazardous waste material.

Bianco says the drilling practice concerns him and sighted a recent study he came across. "It shows that farms are on the decline in Pennsylvania and I'm not sure if it's because farmers are getting money and moving away, or if it's from contamination or both," he said. Bianco says one way he differs with Lamb is that he feels that hydrofracking wouldn't be appropriate at any time, even with additional studies.

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX
Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX



More From WIBX 950