Cuomo's Move on Fracking

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Ken Lovett, Albany bureau chief for The Daily News, discusses Governor Cuomo's decision to effectively delay a decision on hydrofracking in New York. And Jim Finch, Town Supervisor of Conklin, offers his reaction to the governor's decision, and why he thinks Cuomo should allow fracking in New York.


Jim Finch and Ken Lovett

Comments [28]

Sherry from Manhattan

I think Mr. Finch should go to Pennsylvania and talk to some of the residents who've been hurt by fracking. People who didn't lease their land to gas companies now have wells that they can't use. I spoke to Tammy and Matt Manning in Franklin Township, PA--which is not far from Montrose. They can't use their own water and now the gas company delivers highly chlorinated water daily. The Mannings also have to purchase water for cooking. They are suing the gas company. This is not a good economic outcome for people.
Here's a link to a video interview with them from August:

Oct. 03 2012 12:44 AM
Phil from Bronx, NY

I am amazed by the Mr. Finch's delusion about the dangers of fracking. There is AMPLE evidence that fracking causes earthquakes and pose a danger to the water supply of the area yet he still calls movies like GasLand a hoax? Unbelievable. People are entitled to their own opinions, but it seems that this guy is looking for his own facts, which is inexcusable.

I am happy to see that politicians listen to their constituents. I was one of thousands to call Governor Cuomo's office and send in comments against fracking and plan to be send in more comments and make more calls as this process is reset. This is a dangerous practice and should not be allowed.

Oct. 02 2012 04:24 PM

Blogmob -

Joe from nearby at 10:20 am asked Brian why he would give a platform to a "greedy teabagger." I know that phrase is as commonplace on the left as "comrade" but I still consider it namecalling and a slur. An immature one at that.

Oct. 02 2012 04:09 PM
Chris from New York


I just looked at your slideshow and don't see what's so bad about it. I live near Chambers Street in Tribeca and the city has been ripping open the street for two years now in a more disruptive way.

First off, the "waste" in tanks is clearly labeled "Brine". That's saltwater. The vast majority of discharge from wells is actually saltwater which just needs to be stored in tanks until it evaporates. Then you're left with salt. It looks like they have lids on the tanks to prevent accidental drownings, which I'm sure concerns you too.

Virtually all of the water quality issues are due to biogenic gas releases which occur near the surface and have nothing to do with "fracking", which has become an ill-informed catchall phrase for natural gas drilling.

No doubt, there are environmental drawbacks to gas drilling, just like any other human or industrial activity. In the limited menu of electricity sources, it has a relatively minor impact on the environment. Check out coal ash slurries, nuclear disposal sites.

Large scale solar panels would cover vastly more land than one gas well. Natural gas electricity also emits 50% less carbon dioxide than coal plants, which are set to become NYC's largest energy source when Cuomo shuts down Indian Point.

As always, be careful what you wish for.

Oct. 02 2012 03:21 PM
Pete the Roustabout from Rig 40, Gulf of Mexico

As someone who actually drilled natural gas wells I can assure all of you that Mr. Finch is being willfully blind to the hazards. His attempt to trivialize opponents arguments by calling them "liberals" is laughable as is his contention that "...there's no problem in Texas..." with drilling. Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have been so polluted by decades of drilling and refining they don't even bother to talk about it anymore. The vast health impacts on both humans and the environment are pretty much ignored by public officials, the media and of course the industry. MD Anderson has some the best cancer care in the country because they have a huge pool of patients nearby.

And as for Mr. Finch's contention that a pipe encased in cement with another pipe cemented inside of it was going to protect the surrounding environment, that's what BP thought when Transocean (my alma mater) drilled the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks for that great cement job Halliburton!

I'm not against fracking per se but as someone who has poured everything from crushed walnut shells to sulphuric acid down a well there has to be more transparency or even outright limits on what gets used to fracture the rock, how it's disposed of and setting up some type of surety or insurance fund to clean up after the inevitable breach.

Oct. 02 2012 11:41 AM
William from Manhattan

I hope this isn't too long for posting. I listened to Supervisor Finch from Conklin with a deep sense of cognitive dissonance, especially when he extolled the safety record of fracking in neighboring Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania, and particularly the experience of the town Montrose.

Just a few weeks ago I went on a fact-finding trip to Susquehanna County organized by NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat, where I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the effects of fracking on those communities. I encourage any New Yorkers who want to see the state of the art of fracking to make the trip, get off the main roads and look at the well sites, the waste storage sites, and the pipelines. And most of all, to count the houses with "water buffaloes" next to them. (Water buffaloes are plastic water tanks supplied by gas companies to families whose water wells have been contaminated with fracking chemicals and methane.)

You can also get a sense from a open letter to the governor and slideshow I posted at this URL:

To close, here's what I saw in Montrose, which was why I wrote this comment after listening to Supervisor Finch:

"We went to Montrose. It’s a nice town, where people get water delivered to them from the gas companies, and where the water in the public lake is treated, chlorinated. We saw a sign, “Danger chlorine gas.” People swim there."

Oct. 02 2012 10:50 AM
blogmob from manhattan

to "Reason": i have looked through all the comments and find _no_ namecalling at all. why would you post that comment?

Oct. 02 2012 10:45 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Supvr. Finch cites celebrities who oppose fracking as a way to discredit the far wider opposition of local people who live in areas where fracking is going on & those who listen to them. Then he says flammable tap water is normal in some places, but the people whose water lights up in "Gasland" all said it didn't happen in their homes until after the fracking started. If he wants science, he can read last year's Scientific American article ( & their follow-up articles on fracking. And focusing on the tap water catching fire is a way to divert attention from the chemicals fracking puts into the water, the pollution it puts into the air, & what it does to the land, not to mention the need to truck in millions of gallons of water & the undisclosed chemicals that are blasted into the wells, & the contaminated water that comes back up & often gets into the aquifers.

Oct. 02 2012 10:31 AM

Wow the liberal left likes to fearmonger and name call as much as the right. Who'd've guessed?!

Oct. 02 2012 10:29 AM

@Mr. Finch - Lets not compare the drilling that goes on in Texas vs New York.

Texas has much different geology and population density. Even with the increase in population, about half of Texas land is uninhabited. They can drill in their backyard because there are large amounts of area where no one lives. Also, the climate in Texas is very arid, which is conducive to drilling.

New York on the other hand is very mountainous and we have natural forests, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. The food and water sources for the entire state are dependent on these natural resources. We do drill for natural gas, but its not on a large scale because so much of our lands are inhabited by people and nature. The reason why many people here are so concerned about fracking is because we don't our natural resources threatened by this method of natural gas extraction.

Oct. 02 2012 10:28 AM

what the rush?
and here's a way to cut taxes, cut the number of upstate town supervisors why do we need so many little towns anyway. consolidation

Oct. 02 2012 10:25 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

All of our problems can be solved by a really nice Peace Quilt and clothing made of hemp.

Oct. 02 2012 10:25 AM
Michelle from NYC

You have got to be kidding me...

Oct. 02 2012 10:23 AM

"Pennsylvania- Philly & Pittsburgh...with Arkansas in between."

Oct. 02 2012 10:23 AM
Sandy from New York

Speakers should not be allowed to make claims without being able to back them up. The person on right now claims that:
- no adverse effects from Fracking in Texas
- Gasland is the biggest hoax since War of the Worlds.
I am a scientist (I work at a university in New York) and there is a vast literature on environmental and serious health problems of fracking. This person should not be allowed to make the claims without being challenged.

Oct. 02 2012 10:22 AM
Michael D.D. White from Brooklyn Heights

They have not been fracking in Texas for 75 years: That’s bogus and misinformation. Fracking with hyperslick water under extreme pressure is a brand new technology going back only to about 2007.

Oct. 02 2012 10:22 AM
Paul Morini from Westchester

How can he say there are no environmental issues with fracking. Big oil spends millions in lobbying and propaganda to fight it. Why not deploy solar in the fields to be used for fracking. It would create jobs and improve the environment.

Oct. 02 2012 10:21 AM
Paul from Princeton

Fracking should be outlawed!

Oct. 02 2012 10:21 AM
C.G. from New York

On your guest's comment about Hollywood stars who don't live in NY, Mark Ruffalo and his family live in Callicoon, NY ( But on his larger point that only NY residents can know what is necessary, why would someone with a financial interest in one outcome necessarily be most knowledgeable or best equipped to judge which outcome is less harmful?

Oct. 02 2012 10:21 AM
Rita from Andes, NY 13731

Fracking for short term miniscuial financial gain is sucicide for the population and land prices in upstate NY in the long run. Small towns in the midwest are riddled with lukeimia 10 years after, but no one talks about that.

Well done Cuomo!!!

Oct. 02 2012 10:21 AM

Please tell the mayor that not everyone who objects to fracking is from elsewhere. I am from Otsego county, just north of the Binghamton area on the Susquhanna, and I am NOT willing to enroll my children in a life-long medical experiment with chemicals so toxic the drilling companies won't even say what they are. Why, if this is so safe, have the New York and Syracuse watersheds been protected, while poisoning my kids is acceptable?

Oct. 02 2012 10:20 AM
Joe from nearby

Now I know where the term "fire water" came from.

Brian- why are you giving a platform to a greedy deranged teabagger who's blaming "all those liberals"?

Oct. 02 2012 10:20 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Susan from nyc,

While you are on the warpath, ban motor vehicles. In 2010, 32,000+ people died because of them.

Oct. 02 2012 10:19 AM
David Brashear from Westchester

It doesn't matter what Cuomo decides on fracking. This ship has sailed for New York. While we argued the merits, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio all moved forward on fracking. There is now a glut in natural gas, and leased land in those states that have not yet been drilled are now facing drilling delays, until the price recovers. There is still much contracted work to be done in PA, WV and OH - that will happen before any drilling business moves into regulatory-rich NY.

Oct. 02 2012 10:19 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

And how long does it take for contaminated aquifers to clean themselves? Can you even think of this in human life-span terms?

What about tourism?

Air pollution that causes neuropothies?

And when you can't get a mortgage on your property any longer because you or your neighbor has fracked?

Oct. 02 2012 10:18 AM
savitra from manhattan

all of the hundreds of activists i have met in this struggle have been from ny, pennsylvania, and other places directly affected by fracking. the are not from "hollywood." this is a scurrilous attack.

Oct. 02 2012 10:17 AM

please ask the supervisor Finch about fracking in an area prone to catastrophic flooding.

Oct. 02 2012 10:17 AM
Susan from nyc

Every unbiased (read non-industry) scientific study has found problems with water quality, air pollution, toxic waste, road and community destruction, and even earthquakes with fracking. No one has proved it safe. The gas has been there for 400 million years--it can wait a while until it is absolutely safe. Remember when nuclear was declared safe, clean, and so cheap we would have unmetered electricity? (That was before Chernobyl, before Three Mile Island, before Fukushima.) Cuomo, quite rightly, wants to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant; now he must refuse to foist on us an environmental and health disaster of far greater potential.

Oct. 02 2012 10:08 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.