The Catskills get their own DEC hydrofracking hearing - by doing it themselves

Above: Video coverage of Saturday's "people's hearing" by videographer Jessica Vecchione.

On Saturday, a coalition of anti-fracking groups organized a "people's hearing" to accept public comments about hydraulic fracturing from Catskills residents.

The hearing was planned to fill a gap: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation didn't organize an official public comment meeting in Delaware, Schoharie or Otsego counties last November, when it held several public forums its draft Supplemental Generic Draft Impact Statement (SGEIS) on natural gas drilling. (The nearest official DEC meeting was held in Loch Sheldrake, in Sullivan County, about hours away for Delaware and Otsego residents.)

Saturday's meeting, which was held in an auditorium at SUNY Delhi in Delhi, was moderated by Larry Bennett and Meredith Town Supervisor (and vocal anti-fracking advocate) Keitha Capouya. All the comments made were recorded and transcribed -- they will be sent to the DEC by this Wednesday, January 11, when the public comment period on the SGEIS closes.

Delaware County videographer Jessica Vecchione attended Saturday's meeting and posted a 15-minute video of its highlights yesterday. We've re-posted the video above. From the looks of it, most of the comments made during the hearing were anti-fracking, despite the fact that the hearing welcomed comments from all perspectives about the practice.

Want to give the DEC a piece of your mind about hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling? There's still time to comment -- submit your thoughts online until Wednesday here.