Even if you don’t agree with my view about Fracking, or hydrofracking, you should make an effort to make public comment with the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). Anyone with any sense of responsibility for their children’s future should not sit this critical issue out.
If you think Fracking should happen in NYS, you should justify your opinion. If you are against this form of gas drilling, your concerns should be voiced. Sure, it’s daunting to bone up on all the specifics of Fracking and troublesome to get oneself to one of the public meetings the DEC has set up (go here to do all that), but you owe it to the folks who come after you. Your decision (and doing nothing is a decision) on Fracking will have a profound effect on our environment and future generations. Here’s the first and closest public hearing : Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 1-4PM and 6-9PM, Dansville Middle School Auditorium, 31 Clara Barton Street, Dansville, NY 14437.
Several decades ago I had the privilege of serving on the county’s Grand Jury, where the public is invited to participate on legal issues for a month. Before we began our task, the District Attorney reminded us that we were taking on a very important service for our county, so it was imperative that we all pay attention. (He also implored us not to embarrass the county.) So, too with this decision on whether our state follows other states to allow Fracking.
If you don’t know what Fracking is go here: Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (September 2011) - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
So here’s my pitch against Fracking. Fracking is going to be a disaster for New York State. Unlike wind turbines, we cannot easily dismantle such a pervasive technology as Fracking from our environment. This is the case of the camel’s nose, as once approved drilling will begin in the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale. Snaking under our feet for the entire state, regardless of the ownership of the property above, will be thousands of pipelines forcing undisclosed chemicals and our fresh water through a network of drilled and natural fissures. Who can possibly know where these natural fissures will take these chemicals far beneath our sight? There will be errors (note: EPA Finds Compound Used in Fracking in Wyoming Aquifer - ProPublica) just like there is in the nuclear industry.
And remember who we are. New York State embodies the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie of the Great Lakes, not to mention key watersheds to major cities, including New York City—one of the largest cities in the world. There is a reason why business folks complain about New York State’s usually tight environmental restrictions: we are the fresh water capital of the world.
Many, especially the fossil fuel industry, are getting very excited about the prospects of drilling here in New York. Boom times in New York. However, added to the threat that Fracking brings to our fresh water is Climate Change where many Likely Changes are already in the pipeline for our region—even if we stop all greenhouse gases going into our atmosphere right now. Burning the natural gas we get from our ground will further increase the consequences of Climate Change, instead of the reversing this tendency, as renewable energy such as wind power would do. Consequently, if we fail to address Climate Change and poison our fresh water, we deny our future potential as a place where folks will want to come when their water runs out. Climate Change brings drought, and many Southern and Western aquifers are drying up. They are either going to take our water or come and join us. They won’t come to our region if we destroy the most valuable resource we have.
We will have sold our family jewels to the fossil fuel industry rendering our potential for a sustainable boom of fresh water null and void.
So think about making a public statement about Fracking. In our Democracy at present we tend to think that the majority opinion is the right opinion—even though with a little reflection we realize that is wrong. We used to think a century and a half ago that slavery was a great idea. It wasn’t.
Somehow we have to find a way to make decisions that are best for ourselves and future generations. Right now, might and money make right. Sorrowfully, the best we can do in this time of economic misery is come to a public meeting, make our informed opinions known on this critical environmental issue, and think further ahead than our own present self interests.
You can find out what Rochesterians are doing about hydrofracking here: R-Cause: Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction
If we permanently pollute our fresh water, our grandkids are going to be really annoyed with us.