Richard Hanna's campaign sent along this statement about drilling:
"It is clear that BP has been an irresponsible corporate citizen and also that the U.S. government has not forced companies to live up to existing standards," Richard Hanna said. "Given our energy needs it is totally unrealistic to assume we can stop offshore drilling.
"However, it is equally as clear that government needs to do a better job upholding standards and companies need to act more responsibly.
Now, we have a real life example of the unimaginable potential for damage that exists with offshore drilling. It should give us all cause for reflection going forward, and a new appreciation for the need and development of a national energy policy where we must move toward alternative energy away from hydrocarbons."
The campaign also provided this statement on hydrofracking and drilling:
Congressional candidate Richard Hanna today said he understands the potential value of accessing natural gas in Upstate New York, however he will not support drilling in the Marcellus Shale unless it is guaranteed to be environmentally safe.
It is clear at this time that the fracking process is not safe. We need to pursue technologies that allow for the safe extraction of gas, Hanna said.
"The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included exceptions and provisions for certain oil and gas industries," Hanna said. "It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Those provisions should have been repealed long ago."
In Upstate New York, the Marcellus Shale offers great opportunity to provide an abundance of natural gas, as one of the largest gas fields in North America. In accessing this resource, we must ensure proper short- and long-term environmental protections are in place and the security of our water supply must be understood in its entirety and guaranteed.
"We need to fully examine and be prepared for all possible outcomes exploration could have on our environment," Hanna said. "While there may be billions in potential revenue associated with natural gas, there is also an element of risk that is not fully understood."
In light of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Hanna said it is even more necessary that Congress pass a national energy policy. Not only is it is essential for our national security, but a policy would reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and prevent hundreds of billions of our dollars from being shipped overseas.
"It is agonizingly clear that neither the government nor Big Oil was prepared for the eventuality of the disaster in the Gulf," Hanna said. "The lack of government oversight and BP's mismanagement are glaring evidence of our long overdue need to develop a national energy policy that moves us toward sustainable resources. There is plenty of blame to go around with this disaster."
I wanted to update this post to reflect something I found in researching this issue.
A Utica Observer-Dispatch questionnaire provides some great insight into where Arcuri stands on the issue.
This is what Arcuri said:
O-D: Offshore drilling -- to what extent do you support it, and if so, where?
Arcuri: Yes - I support offshore drilling. I voted for legislation that would open up the largest area of the Outer Continental Shelf - in our nation's history - for oil and gas drilling. I also supported legislation that would force oil companies to drill on the 68 million acres of federal land (including 30 million offshore) they currently hold leases. I supported legislation that would allow for drilling in National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. And recently, I voted for legislation that lifts the current moratorium on offshore drilling, allowing oil exploration as close as three miles from shore.
And as pointed out below, Hanna has stated his support multiple times for offshore drilling.
UPDATE: I provide this update in the interest of fairness. I reached out to Richard Hanna's campaign after receiving the press release. First, I called Hanna, who was out of town. After reaching out to the campaign, I was told a response would be prepared.
Once that response is passed along, it will be added to this story and the story will reflect those changes.
Drilling is a big news item, both in local and national circles. Nationally, of course, is the oil disaster occurring in the Gulf of Mexico courtesy of British Petroleum. Locally, hydrofracking is a hot topic and debated by opponents and supporters alike.
It is even a hot political issue. Case in point: The campaign of Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-Utica, is calling on their Republican opponent, Richard Hanna, to clear his stance on drilling.
Media reports from 2008 and this year tell separate stories of Hanna's support for drilling.
In a June 2008 article from the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Hanna expressed his support for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and "in other locations in the United States now off limits."
In a questionnaire submitted to the Observer-Dispatch, Hanna made his position on drilling clear.
"The majority of known reserves in this country are off limits," Hanna said in the questionnaire. "It is urgent that we develop policies which allow us to fast track the use of new energy sources."
Arcuri's campaign cite a recent interview Hanna gave where he slammed the government and BP for its role in the Gulf oil disaster.
"It is agonizingly clear that neither the government nor Big Oil was prepared for the eventuality of this disaster," Hanna said in an e-mail statement. "The lack of government oversight and BP's mismanagement are glaring evidence of our long overdue need to develop a national energy policy that moves us toward sustainable resources. There is plenty of blame to go around with this disaster."
Arcuri for Congress Communications Director Jeff Johnston wants to know if this is a shift in Hanna's views.
"Clearly in 2008 when it was politically correct to say ‘drill, baby, drill' Mr. Hanna said precisely that, repeatedly. Now he points the finger at the lack of controls for the BP disaster when he specifically wanted to "fast track" drilling before. Now he claims to be against hydro-fracking, but will he hold that position next year? Who knows?"
In an interview with me recently, Arcuri said he was opposed to hydrofracking. One of the reasons he cited was safeguarding against the pollution of our water. Arcuri's position on drilling, in general, has been he is opposed to things like drilling in the Arctic and offshore drilling unless it's a place where oil companies already have leases.
Hanna is reportedly opposed to hydrofracking, but appears supportive of other drilling.
A call to Hanna was not returned as of this writing.