Reed town hall meeting focuses on gas drilling

A contentious gas-drilling debate highlighted U.S. Rep. Tom Reed’s town hall meeting Saturday in Burdett, where nearly everyone in attendance was anti-drilling.

Reed, R-Corning, spent a majority of the hour-plus meeting at Hector Town Hall debating gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – with approximately 50 attendees, most of whom spoke forcefully on the subject.

Reed made no bones about his view on the subject – he’s in favor of fracking the Marcellus Shale if it can be done cleanly and responsibly, which he believes it can.

“I am a supporter of the industry, natural gas,” Reed said.

His view drew ire from those in attendance.

“Our town in Troy, Pa., is ruined” because of gas drilling, one woman said. “I could tell you horror stories. The things we live every day … They call it Gastown now. It doesn’t even have its name anymore.”

Reed said he’s spoken with residents in Pennsylvania who have a polar view on the matter.

“What I’m trying to stress is point and counterpoint,” Reed said. “Why in America can’t we have both” gas drilling and a clean environment? “I’m not going to take the stance of no, hell no, never,” Reed said.

Reed was immediately met collective exasperation.