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WNYC reporter Ilya Marritz discusses today's final public hearing on the state's proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
I live in PA and cannot believe the power these gas companies have. They are much more powerful than the DEC so who is regulating them? Our governor enables them in every way he can. People and animals are getting sick from contaminated water and air. Treatment facilities admit they cannot remove many of the dangerous toxins from the frack water or the salt yet it is still dumped into the rivers. All while the governor and legislators pretend things are great. And what a financial boon, our capital city declared bankruptcy last week! I hope if NY can win this fight against the gas companies, people in PA will see there is hope for them too.
good points all, david. however, the 2005 energy act excused the oil and gas industries from reporting chemicals used--and provided exemptions from the clean air, clean water and superfund acts. ergo--they're not legally compelled, and quite doubtful that the NYS DEC will compel them. industry likens this to the formula for coca cola or mcd's secret sauce--trade secret that warrants protection!
this comes down to cuomo. he's pro-fracking, and has drunk the (poisoned) kool-aid that makes electeds believe there's nothing but upside revenue potential for the state that hosts the practice. we've already seen from PA that if you don't impose huge impact fees and taxes on the mineral gain on industry, you're left with a broken state budget, and no means of repairing the road, air and public health damage now that the horse is long out of the gate. we can't wait to determine liability after the fact--stop this now!
Even if the industry shows that fracking can be safe, the real question is "how can we be sure it will be safe." If approved, the standard must be "Best Available Technology", regulators must be on-site during drilling and paid for by the industry, and the industry must establish a fund from which to pay the liabilities that will arise from the few accidents that do occur.
Fresh water is Earth's most precious commodity. The fracking process injects about 600 toxic materials mixed with millions of gallons of water into gas-bearing shale, poisoning any nearby aquifers forever and dangerously polluting the adjacent atmosphere and environment to the point of causing debilitating sickness and death to humans and all other living things. Watch Josh Fox's documentary "Gasland." See for yourself. Furthermore, New York State is a level 2 earthquake zone. Discounting the potentially dangerous tremors associated with liquefying rock, any serious quake can fracture the the concrete sheaths supposedly protecting the drill holes, causing further havoc to the ground, water, and atmosphere. Of all water on earth 4% is fresh. Much of this water is locked in ice, Owing to rampant water pollution only about 0.4% is potable. Why squander it for pure undiluted greed, with blatant disregard for the common welfare? GREED IS NOT GOOD. COMPASSION IS. Think about it.
Can we compel Big Energy to publish a LIST of all the chemicals they wish to pressure pump into our Earth? Our drinking water? Don't we have that most basic right? I want a LIST!
Are these Chemicals safe for very young children to drink? For pregnant women to ingest? For a developing fetus?
What will THAT lawsuit cost Big Energy and their investors? Every damaged / defective live birth lawsuit in the region will add "Chemicals used in Fracking" to the list of people / corporations to sue for baby damages ...pain & suffering, medical expenses.... For physical defects and autism and...etc.... will add up to multiple billions of dollars. If we get that LIST of chemicals, I doubt ANYONE will support the insanity any longer.
And energy will not help you if you have no water to drink or use for other purposes.
Do these companies really want to pay out ALL those medical - legal damages? Legal fees?
As always, it's more complicated, as detailed in this article from last month's Scientific American: http://search.freecause.com/search?ourmark=1&fr=freecause&ei=utf-8&type=60637&p=sciam%20fracking%20mooney.
But it's interesting how the oil co. ads talk about natural gas being cleaner. It may be cleaner to burn, but it's not cleaner to extract. Same goes for "clean coal."
Can we PLEASE have a discussion about how pursuing a technology long-recognized as OBSOLETE, non-renewable and lethal to us and the planet is thoroughly STUPID.
It is beyond time to develop the many viable, clean alternatives.
This is NOT rocket science!!
steven from Manhattan I agree w your statement but would like to make a slight, if debatable, correction. The planet doesn't need to be saved. It couldn't care less. We our talking about saving ourselves.
Can't prove earthquakes (yet), but there's no questioning the footage of tap water catching fire... Or the scientific data describing the poisoning of our aquifers -- our most precious and life-preserving resource, water.
Fracking is nothing less than corporate greed masquerading as public policy, corporate polluters masquerading as patriots.
Save the planet first. After that, everything else can be discussed.
While I think BL is a very good journalist and host, I find his tendency to snicker at some things reveals bias and is a very bad habit. On fracking, I think it is a very bad idea. As to the Governor, I believe that his business bias and opposition to taxing the 1% indicate that he will approve lightly regulated fracking.
1. why didn't pennsylvania go through this process before agreeing to be fr@cked?
Not really most people in Pennsylvania only new peripherally what was happening. Groups like Haliburton and T Boon Pickens (?) toured the areas selling it as something we needed. My grandmother was quietly approached by a gas company and quickly sold her mineral rights not having any idea what it was, the money was too good. Remember this came when the economy had completely collapsed and PA had been in trouble much longer.
2. does this process in ny help PA in any way?
Well there are jobs (for now) at least.
What's a little more chemistry in the water of the most populous city in the entire United State™!!
A tiny risk for a few more PetroDollars®!
Of course things should be done carefully and safely
-- but is there any form of economic prosperity that the WNYC audience is not against?
There is no proof that fracking is dangerous.
The burden of proof is on those who want to drill. They must show that fracking is NOT dangerous. So far, they have presented no proof.
"Marcellus Shale don't liked to be fracked by anybody but Mrs. Shale!"
ConocoPhillips® = Satan's own spawn.
Please listen to This American Life's story about fracking and how it tore apart a Pennsylvania town. Unbelievable what these gas companies will do.
After watching Gasland I am deathly afraid of this fraquing with our water supply. We have been blessed with non filter able water and why we would want to do this boggles the mind. Let's move towards solar and wind and geothermal and get out of this old way of energy development.
FYI Web Chat 3 pm today on this subject with Elizabeth Kolbert, who wrote about it this week for The New Yorker:
My family lives in Lycoming County Pennsylvania where Fracking is currently underway. One thing I was to know is that these drilling has changed much more than the environment.
Rent prices have soared in that county from a 1-bedroom being $300 a month to $1200 and upwards. The housing crisis is OVER there. This has a HUGE impact on the low-income families that populate the area.
Also Haliburton and the other companies involved sit on the school boards there it is incredible their reach.
The Catskills including the Delaware River Basin is a special place. All of it is a watershed. If you drive up Route 17 you see water oozing out of the rock above. It rains up there a lot, around 40 inches a year.
In this weeks New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert states, "In the 2005 energy bill, largely crafted by Dick Cheney, fracking was explicitly exempted from federal review under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result of this dispensation, which has been dubbed the Haliburton Loophole, drilling companies are under no obligation to make public which chemicals they use."
How can the NY State DEC make a informed decision on fracking if the chemicals used are secret? And what do you think the real reason is that the drilling companies want to keep these chemicals secret?
The basic question is this: Which is more valuable, gas or water? For the drilling companies and the upstate landowners who want to lease, its gas. For the citizens of New York its unequivocally unpolluted water.
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