Unconventional Play

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WNYC, in a joint investigation with ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news organization, recently discovered that New York State legislators have been aggressively promoting the exploration of natural gas in New York's Macellus Shale, a type of gas-rich sediment. WNYC reporter Ilya Marritz, who investigated the practice, and ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten discuss the environmental controversies of natural gas exploration.


Abrahm Lustgarten and Ilya Marritz

Comments [22]

leigh from canada

Quit your belly aching,turn off your heat and stop driving your car

Feb. 13 2009 05:17 PM
Jane Cyphers from Brooklyn NY/Milanville Pa

Finally this issue is getting the national attention it deserves. Thank you to all those individuals and local papers in the Delaware River Basin who have dedicated their lives over the last 5 months to making the devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing known. This has not been an easy task, for the gas companies are formidable and RICH opponents. Please go to our website and find out what you can do to help maintain the integrity of the Delaware River Basin, the source for 5% of the US population.

Jane Cyphers

Jul. 23 2008 11:22 PM
Wayne C. Cook from Upstate, NY

Well this is the final straw for me, I have watched corrupt politicians commit crimes without being punished, raise our taxes EVERY year and destroy any rights & liberties we once took for granted. Now they are going to let our drinking prestine Water & Air be destroyed for financial gain. How ignorant are we to think that government is going to protect us, they don't even demand discloser of the chemicals used to destroy our land & water. Our government has not only sold us out, they have now put our basic health at risk as well. Once the ground water is poluted I'm sure the government will provide us with clean water which they will no doubt tax us for as well. Where are we going to get clean air from??

As for me, I'm selling all my property and moving out of this God forsaken state of insanity. I'd send a post card but I think maybe most NY residents are too dumb to read...

We are merely sheep awaiting slaughter....

Jul. 23 2008 09:22 AM
Josh Fox from New York City/Milanville, PA

I have just spent the last three months traveling throughout the West (Texas, Colordado, Wyoming) creating a documentary on Hyrdaulic Fracturing because I have been intensely worried about this dangerous, toxic type of drilling coming to New York. What I found was deeply disturbing:

" I had 9 interviews about the harmful effects of gas drilling in Western Colorado, near Grand Junction. Information beyond what I can relate here, disturbing to the point of madness, a hell unleashed on a former paradise. Grand Mesas, indescribably beautiful, poisoned all around by a thick haze of noxious smelling toxins everywhere. I met people with brain lesions, people who have no sense of smell due to H2S2 poisoning, people with homes on toxic waste dumps, people who have blown out ear drums, brain damage and enlarged aortas. The misery here is dense and the willingness to speak of it with loud articulate voices is almost unreal in it's sheer determination not to succumb, move or die. This part of the country is a stinking festering horror with foul smelling chemicals everywhere and no recourse to the law for it's citizens."

Please go to for more info.
This will be an environmental apocalypse for New York. Please get involved, I cannot stress the dangers of this industry enough.

Jul. 22 2008 11:17 PM
Susan Sullivan from Narrowsburg,NY

Thanks to Propublica, WNYC, and the Albany Times Union for at last giving a full description of the nitemare we find ourselves in. I live in Sullivan Co. NY, about three miles from the Delaware River. I just attended a meeting of our Town Board, where we are struggling to map out how we will use the very small amount of Home Rule authority left to us to protect ourselves.

You should know that all the regulations that Towns in NYS can use in approving a simple subdivision do not apply to gas drilling. Those powers have been retained by the DEC. The DEC has just written the revised law 10526 which essentially makes a gas well a permitted use, so issuing a permit will be virtually automatic with no environmental review. This is the bill the Governor is to sign (or not) tomorrow, so please, please call him and ask him not to sign.

We face losing everything. How do you sell a home with contaminated water? We treasure our environment .... its why most of us live here. It would be helpful to contact your State Senator and Representative as well. We are all in this together.

Jul. 22 2008 10:33 PM
Naomi J. Fisch from Walton, New York

Priceless resources of the Catskills will be destroyed when the drilling starts. Our cean water, pure air, and arable land will be gone. Ours is a rare place where bird song dominates traffic noise. Both saddening and maddening to come up against those who think they can win in their deals with the oil companies and those companies who believe that the landowners are more hungry for money than they are eager to save their environment. And - horror! - those organizations like the DEC and local boards who are supposed to protect the surroundings and its citizens are both ignorant and/or bought. The gas will be gone, the money will be gone, and then we who are left will have the ashes.

Jul. 22 2008 08:08 PM
H Kate from Sullivan County

The following is from a local newspaper, "The River Reporter"

Each 9,000 foot-deep well will require 3 million gallons of water pumped at high pressure into the well bore, including a fracking fluid (manufactured by Halliburton, among others) that has been found to contain diesel fuel, arsenic, benzene, xylene, toluene and an array of heavy metals. Once pumped back out of the well bore, these fluids -- millions of gallons -- will be stored in open pits to evaporate. In the flood prone Upper Delaware, this is a disaster in the making.

Jul. 22 2008 03:41 PM
j canusee from walton New York

some relevant links on the issue including video and articles:
See what this beautiful area could soon look like at /

this page give important links on the issue:

Jul. 22 2008 02:16 PM
jose from walton New York

some informative sites:

Read all about it in two articles from the NY Times at:
and see what this beautiful area could soon look like at /

Jul. 22 2008 01:55 PM
Bruce from Former resident of upstate NY, now in NJ

The belatedly abandoned Tocks Island dam project ( should caution us all. We should require an analysis of the consequences of breaking up the rock in particular areas, consisting of an independent and careful geologic and hydrologic survey. The survey data, analysis, and conclusions should be fully disclosed and objectively explained. Once the recommendations that flow from the analysis have been reconciled with the interests of the public, a management regime that ensures conformance with those recommendations should be mandated.

Jul. 22 2008 12:40 PM
David from Brooklyn

The bill to allow the type natural gas extraction discussed in this segment passed the New York State Assembly a month ago. Governor Patterson has until tomorrow (Wednesday, July 23) to sign it into law. If you think that the people of New York would be better served by a full disclosure about the process of hydraulic fracturing, including the chemicals used and how waste water will be dealt with, please call the Governor and urge him not to sign.

The bill number is 10526 and Governor Patterson's number is 518-474-8390.

Thank you!

Jul. 22 2008 11:18 AM
Ric from Manhattan

We all should Google some interviews with Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
He makes a very persuasive market based argument on why going after more fossil energy sources is bad for business and even our natural security.
We all should by now realize that fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable power.
Water is going to be our next big resource based flash point, why put what we have at risk for a resource that is becoming harder extract and will eventually run out?
We could easily and more cheaply conserve the amount of gas they want to take out.
Drilling for gas isn't going to make the town of Deposit viable in the long run, lets jump start a green economy in this beautiful State of ours!

Jul. 22 2008 10:58 AM
Jon P. from Hewitt, NJ

It’s all about money, money, money.... Nothing complicated, nothing more, nothing less. Rich folk going to get more rich at your expense. They don’t care and unless NY folks raise a big stink about it, NY corporate bought government is going to let the natural gas companies rape and pillage until it’s clean up time which NY (you) will get to pick up the tab. How long has it taken NY to get GE to clean up the Hudson River? I believe it’s still in litigation (I think GE is still trying to appeal its responsibility for its own mess) as the river sits and remains polluted by GE's heavy metals....

Jul. 22 2008 10:48 AM
hjs from 11211

Steve (the other one)
we are the dark lord

Jul. 22 2008 10:28 AM
Sally from L.E.S.

I've heard these drilling companies have connections to Halliburton. I've spent my whole life traveling from New York City to a small township outside Walton, NY in Delaware County. It is a pristine, rural farming community. The thought that our neighbors are being exploited to have their countryside devastated is appalling. These corporations have no shame.

Jul. 22 2008 10:26 AM
hjs from 11211

don't like it cut back on energy use

Jul. 22 2008 10:22 AM
hjs from 11211

barren wilderness?

Jul. 22 2008 10:21 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

These drillers are exempt from the Clean Water Act? The Dark Lord strikes again. Wonder if state clean water laws even apply anymore?

Jul. 22 2008 10:20 AM
Albert from Greenwich, CT

I heard this story on Morning Edition. Could you please ask why information on chemicals that might affect our lives is proprietary and can’t be disclosed. I almost crashed my car when I heard this preposterous statement.

Jul. 22 2008 10:18 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

Two things:

1. MOST residents in the Catskills get their water from wells drilled on their land. There is has been lax monitoring of water safety for years so there are repeated cases of people having gasoline in their water and worse (because of nearby stations, etc.)

So New York City residents should be concerned. So too should be Catskill residents.

2. A rhetorical question: What's next for the Catskills -- Mountain top removal mining?

Are New York residents as badly served by politicians as the rural residents of West Virginia?

Jul. 22 2008 10:17 AM
shc from Manhattan

How could the state government approve something whose dangers run so counter to the public's health and safety? What are their reasonings for the benefits (other than to the energy industries)? Tax income, lower energy prices, etc., if at all?

Jul. 22 2008 10:13 AM
Steve Mark from NYC

This is a dangerous idea to be applied in an area of great natural beauty, One wonders why Alaska is so sacrosanct to save polar bears and barren wilderness when the Catskills' forested mountains, recreational areas and numerous streams and creeks are put at risk, along with squirrels, bears and deer. Don't NY's wildlife have the same civil rights? Seriously, are we still living on Planet Earth?

Jul. 22 2008 09:43 AM

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