Rep. Eric Massa sends letter to State Senator George Winner regarding his incorrect statements about a meeting he did not attend
Today Rep. Eric Massa sent a letter to State Senator George Winner regarding his public statements on a meeting which he did not attend. On Superbowl Sunday, almost 500 citizens turned out to hear a panel discussion on a proposed plan to use an injection well as a toxic waste disposal site in Pulteney. This site is less than one mile away from and topographically above Keuka Lake, and ever since this proposal became public, Rep. Eric Massa has taken a lead role in standing up to protect our water and our land for the next generation.
In today's Corning Leader however, Senator Winner made the allegation that at this meeting, information contained in a February 2nd letter from Chesapeake Energy to Rep. Massa was not disclosed. The truth however is that Rep. Massa provided 250 copies of this letter which were given out at this meeting. At the heart of this issue is Senator Winner's assertion that Chesapeake is essentially walking away from the proposal to use this injection well to store the toxic waste water that results from the fracking process. However, as both Senator Winner and the Corning Leader noted, in the February 2nd letter, Chesapeake clearly stated, "it is premature for [Chesapeake] to pull the application at this time." Translation - if Chesapeake isn't pulling their application, then they probably are still looking to execute this plan.
"As is clearly stated in the letter, which was provided for the attendees of Sunday's meeting, Chesapeake has no intention of withdrawing their application to use the Keuka Lake site as a toxic waste dump," said Massa spokesman Jared Smith. "Senator Winner must have psychic powers if he can speak with firsthand knowledge about what did or did not happen at a meeting that he did not bother to attend. Senator Winner knows how to contact Eric Massa and I'm sure the Congressman would have been happy to tell him all about the meeting had he made any attempt to gather the actual facts. As long as we're on the topic of withholding information, perhaps all professional politicians that are also partners at law firms who specialize in serving gas and oil special interests could disclose that little tidbit of information before making wild accusations."
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Senator George Winner
105 East Steuben Street
Bath, NY 14810
Dear Senator Winner,
I want to thank you for taking the time to weigh in on the issue of hydrofracking. As I'm sure you would agree, this is a critically important issue to our constituents. As you also know, this past Sunday I participated in a panel discussion with several local experts on this topic. If your office receives the same kind of phone calls that my office does, then I am sure you understand that the vast majority of our constituents oppose any proposals to allow toxic and carcinogenic fracking wastewater to be stored right next to Keuka Lake.
Today however, I was surprised to read in the Corning Leader that you are alleging that I held information back at this meeting. My surprise originates from several specific reasons which I'd like to outline for you.
First, despite the fact that this was a well publicized event in the middle of the Senatorial district that you are elected to represent, you did not opt to attend. This panel discussion was not an event organized by my office, however I was invited and I accepted. Considering the widespread announcement of this event, which brought in about 500 people just hours before the Superbowl, you chose not to attend and thus I am puzzled by the way you have attempted to make your argument sound like firsthand knowledge.
Next, our office printed and provided 250 copies of the February 2nd letter which I received from Chesapeake. The copies of the letter were out for anyone to take at this meeting, which you did not attend. As you and the Corning Leader both correctly stated in the article, in this letter Chesapeake stated that "it is premature for [Chesapeake] to pull the application [to store fracking waste in Pulteney] at this time." Clearly this issue is not resolved and the families that live on and around Keuka Lake deserve steadfast action from their elected officials in this ongoing conflict. Furthermore, I understand that you actually have a copy of this letter which was sent to me and distributed at this meeting. Since you did not attend Sunday's panel discussion and the only copies that I know of were provided at this meeting, I can't help but wonder how you came across a copy of the letter which you claim I withheld.
Finally, after reviewing audio of this meeting, during my opening remarks I stated, and this is an exact quote: "As of right now, the lay of the land is a commitment that this will not happen imminently, we have stopped this from happening next week."
In light of the fact that you did not attend the event, did not know that we provided the letter to the attendees, despite the fact that you somehow received it, and that you were unable to actually hear me state clearly that this process is not resolved because Chesapeake will not withdraw their application, I am baffled as to why you are making accusations against me.
In the future if you ever have any questions on things of this nature, please feel free to contact me directly so that I can help inform you of the facts that you might not have been aware of.
Eric J.J. Massa
Member of Congress