Posting in Cities
New York State is proposing that hydrofracking be permitted for drilling natural gas except in areas around vital drinking water watersheds.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is proposing to lift a moratorium on a controversial natural gas drilling practice called "hydrofracking" across the state - except in areas that are vital watersheds for public drinking water.
The technique is employed to extract natural gas from shale, and New York is prime territory. The state is home to a potentially massive repository called the Marcellus Shale. The formation spans across most of the Empire State.
Here's how hydrofracking works: a borehole is dug deep into the ground to inject a proprietary chemical mix that breaks up and opens channels in rock formations; gas is then expelled from the rock and collected.
Gas drilling companies want access to New York's abundant natural gas resources, and hydrofracking makes the gas easily accessible. Advocates believe natural gas is a cleaner transition fuel to coal and oil that will create jobs within the state.
However, pressure from the public and environmental interest groups (I've been receiving petitions in my inbox all week long) has halted their efforts - with good reason.
It may sound straightforward, but there is risk for serious groundwater contamination. Gas companies have used toxic chemicals, including diesel fuel, and scientists have uncovered flammable drinking water around nature gas extraction sites.
That may be why Cuomo's proposal prohibits drilling in New York City's watershed and around Syracuse. The inclusion of those restrictions indicates that the governor is not entirely confident that hydrofracking is safe. I also wonder why he waited to announce his plans until just before a major holiday.
That's a good way to bury bad news. I just hope that the state isn't burying what's in the public's best interest.
Jul 1, 2011
The hydrofracking industry is signing up pseudo-scientists to help them push this devastating process in NY. Here in the Hudson Valley, the pseudo-scientists like George Baum, chair of the Kent NY Conservation Advisory Committee (yes, the town actually appointed a pro-polluter to their conservation commission!) stands to personally profit from this disgraceful, polluting practice. As we've come to learn, you just need to "follow the money" to see why they support fracking. Shame on the "wolves in sheep's clothing" who have sold out for the almighty dollar!
If you have further questions just type in fracking in the SmartPlanet search box and you will find many articles dealing with the issue. if you are moved to take some sort of action or make some sort of statement check out frackaction.com . They are planning a demonstration in Albany on July 7 (this Thursday) to help avoid having Gov. Cuomo allow a compromise that would put NYC watershed sources off limits. They are doing more so you could still learn about that. Good luck to all of us who depend on water to live.
if you are curious about this subject (and you should be because it affects, or will affect many of us) I recommend looking at documentary "Gasland". The filmmaker was offered a large some of money for the rights to extract natural gas from his property. It got him curios and he started looking at what was happening to people who said yes and thought they hit it big with all the money they were getting for this supposedly "benign" process and it's wonderful benefits. The chemicals used to extract the gas are secret. That alone should set off alarms. Water tables are being polluted and mysterious illnesses are occurring to those living near by. Our water is to precious to sacrifice for a quick buck.
In Texas the chemicals used in fracking will be made public under a new law to be enacted soon. Other states such as Wyoming and Arkansas are also going to require public documentation of fracking chemicals. A few fracking companies such as Chesapeake, Chevron Corp. and BP PLC have said they will post the chemicals used in fracking at FracFocus.org (which is an industry supported website). One criticism I have heard about the movie "Gasland" is that gas was already leaking from some faucets from natural cracks in the ground even before fracking was done.
Hadn't heard that criticism but there is plenty more in the movie from obviously real people who aren't just making this stuff up. Once the ground water is unsafe to use there is not much that we can do about it. I feel real bad for the people in the film and everyone else affected by this disaster. We should think long and HARD before we commit to this system. Hydrofracking was mysteriously exempted from the clean water act during the (W) Bush administration. Money talks and politicians need lots of it. We all need water. Let us do our best to protect it while we can.