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Audubon response to Citizens Voices lecture
DELAWARE-OTSEGO AUDUBON SOCIETY, INC.
PO Box 544
Oneonta, NY  13820
October 1, 2012

        A news brief in the September 25, 2012 Oneonta Daily Star informed readers of a presentation to a local business group by an “Audubon Educator” speaking on the benefits to wildlife of gas pipelines, including benefits to “migratory songbirds”.  The Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society (DOAS), the local Chapter of the National Audubon Society, wants to clarify that this speaker has no connection with the organization, and that the views presented do not represent its opinions.

The Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society is opposed to the Constitution Pipeline and has submitted comments stating its concerns to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The construction and right-of-way of the pipeline will cause significant habitat changes, including fragmentation of forested areas.  Although some bird species may benefit from such changes, these are species that have adequate habitat in the region.  The interior forest birds that will lose habitat are among those already in serious decline.  Construction and maintenance of the pipeline will only further threaten these at-risk species.

In addition, the New York State office of the National Audubon Society has issued the following statement regarding the Oneonta presentation:


Audubon response to Citizen Voices lecture by Paul Zeph
The National Audubon Society is deeply concerned with the expansion of unconventional shale gas development which is producing large-scale alterations to the landscape, introducing a multitude of drill sites, roads, pipelines, and other structures in relatively natural and undisturbed settings. These changes are fragmenting forest ecosystems throughout the region, with consequences for the people and wildlife that depend on these areas.

We regret that the presentation given on September 26, 2012, by an Audubon educator from Pennsylvania, Paul Zeph, to Citizen Voices on the habitat needs of forest birds and how they use utility Rights of Way and respond to young forests created by different forest disturbances was interpreted by some as supportive of hydraulic fracturing and pipelines. Audubon does not support hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, nor does it endorse the proposed Constitution Pipeline.

The forests of the northeastern United States are essential to the survival and success of many of North America’s most beloved songbirds. It is now clear that development from the gas industry directly threatens some of the most important of these areas, and over time, the cumulative forest losses and fragmentation are likely to generate long-term declines in sensitive forest bird species as they compete in a landscape that will include not only tens of thousands of wells, but also tens of thousands of miles of new roads, gas pipelines, and water pipelines.

Audubon continues to comprehensively review all aspects of expanded natural gas drilling in the northeast, including the proposed Constitution Pipeline, and provide expert comments on the impacts to birds, other wildlife and their habitats. Audubon employs a rigorous review process before taking positions on any proposed projects, and does not support any project that will negatively impact priority birds or their habitats.

In addition, Mr. Zeph’s talk has been linked to an erroneous rumor that Audubon is taking a $30 million donation from Chesapeake Energy. Audubon is not accepting a $30 million donation from Chesapeake Energy and has no agreement or plans to do so, either directly from Chesapeake Energy or through any third party.