NY man kicked out of commissioners’ meeting

BY STACI WILSON

An Town of Union, N.Y., man was ejected from the Oct. 10 Susquehanna County Commissioners’ meeting after being warned several times to come to order by Chair Alan Hall.

After being recognized to speak, the man, who did not identify himself by name but said he was a “blogger,” took a defensive stance when asked to remove his hat by Commissioner Michael Giangrieco.

“Why?” asked the man.

Ginagrieco said hats worn in a meeting in front of the U.S. flag were considered disrespectful.

After some back and forth between the two on the issue of the propriety of wearing a hat during a government meeting, the Greater Binghamton resident removed his headwear and moved on with his comments.

“I want you all to understand. I have seen you on video being dismissive of complaints of water contamination in Susquehanna County which directly impacts the health of people in New York,” he commented.

He told the commissioners that 98 unconventional gas wells have been drilled upstream of the city of Binghamton, N.Y.; and alleged that over “8500 tons of chemicals – toxic chemicals” have been introduced to the headwater streams.

“What goes on in Susquehanna County affects New York,” he said.

He also, in a raised voice, told the commissioners that he had taken a plane ride over the county the day prior to the meeting. “This county is being scarred by well pads, access roads and illegal quarries to service the well pads and access roads.”

In 2008-9, the Susquehanna County Conservation District reported there were over 1200 bluestone quarries operating in the county.

The man also alleged the Williams’ central compressor station, was operating illegally without DEP or FERC permits.

The compressor station, in Brooklyn Twp., is slated to be part of the proposed Constitution Pipeline.

Although the pipeline is still awaiting federal approval, the county planning commission gave preliminary approval Williams’ plan to construct the compressor station in accordance with the subdivision and land development ordinance.

Giangrieco appeared agitated and the commenter pointedly addressed him, “Commissioner, I would appreciate your attention!”

“I don’t care what you would appreciate,” answered Giangrieco.

After being warned by Hall to cease yelling, a deputy sheriff was summoned to the meeting room.

After several other people provided comments to the elected officials, the New York man said, “I don’t appreciate the nonchalant attitude the commissioners have toward water contamination.”

Hall asked if there was any other public comment while the man was speaking. The commissioner said, “I asked you to get to your point. You didn’t. You’re done.”

“I’m not done!” yelled the man at the commissioner.

One audience member audience member yelled back at the Town of Union resident, “It’s not all about you;” and another added, “You don’t even live here.”

Hall then asked for the deputy to remove the man from the meeting.