Concerned Citizens Have The Right To Meet Privately

To The Reader’s Forum:

This is a response to the letter from Brad Gill, who complained that the gas industry lobby was turned away from a private meeting of concerned citizens in Jamestown on April 24.

This regretful misunderstanding was created by the WNY Drilling Defense group, which did not organize the meeting. They simply reported it, by incorrectly listing it as a “public” event on their Facebook page. The Post-Journal was not “blamed” for anything, although there was some confusion created by someone’s claim that he “saw it in the paper.”

This was a private coalition of Chautauqua-Cattaraugus county citizens concerned about protecting our local resources from the heavy industrialization and toxic contamination that High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing has brought to neighboring states. This is not the same process used on the wells that already exist in Chautauqua County. It is a relatively recent horizontal drilling process that has NOT yet been approved in New York state.

This was politely clarified at the door to the uninvited guests. Having the gas industry at an anti-fracking meeting would be like inviting the fox into the henhouse, wouldn’t it?

Please keep in mind that all people have the right to meet privately, and are under no obligation to invite the public to private meetings. The industry side of the story has already been heard repeatedly at the many public meetings they have stacked with their supporters. Thank you for your interest, but this was not the proper forum for it.

Susan Meara