Soon, on December 12, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will close public comments on the Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (September 2011. It’s the draft (where you can make public comment) on whether or not to lift the moratorium on hydrofracking in our state. Before we here in New York State allow the rush for gas companies to prime the pumps for Fracking, you really ought to read this: Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID).
It’s not the usual Yada Yada. It’s our future--without Fracking. (I suggest reading the whole 652 pages of this report, but that’s probably not going to happen. Still, you might skim through it to get sense of the expertise and research behind this study.)
The reports was funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and it is probably going to factor largely in how New York State sees itself in the coming years because Climate Change is already in the pipes—meaning that even if we stop putting greenhouse gases in our atmosphere right now, these changes are coming anyway. There are 50 years of warming already stored in our land, water, and air that has to play out in our environment because we have not addressed this issue.
Can you imagine adding the environmental stress of a major natural gas drilling boom? Before you scoff, remember a lot of research went into this description of our future.
Climate Change in New York State
Climate change is already affecting and will continue to affect a broad set of activities across New York State. Its geographical and socioeconomic diversity means that New York State will experience a wide range of effects. There will be opportunities to explore new varieties, new crops, and new markets associated with higher temperatures and longer growing seasons. New York’s relative wealth of water resources, if properly managed, can contribute to resilience and new economic opportunities. On the other hand, higher temperatures and increased heat waves have the potential to increase fatigue of materials in the water, energy, transportation, and telecommunications sectors; affect drinking water supply; cause a greater frequency of summer heat stress on plants and animals; alter pest populations and habits; affect the distribution of key crops such as apples, grapes, cabbage, and potatoes; cause reductions in dairy milk production; increase energy demand; and lead to more heat-related deaths and declines in air quality. Projected higher average annual precipitation and frequency of heavy precipitation events could also potentially increase the risks of several problems, including flash floods in urban areas and hilly regions; higher pollutant levels in water supplies; inundation of wastewater treatment plants and other vulnerable development in floodplains; saturated coastal lands and wetland habitats; flooded key rail lines, roadways, and transportation hubs; and travel delays. Sea level rise will increase risk of storm surge-related flooding, enhance vulnerability of energy facilities located in coastal areas, and threaten transportation and telecommunications facilities. Across the varied geography of New York State, many individuals, households, communities, and firms are at risk of experiencing climate change impacts. Some will be especially vulnerable to specific impacts due to their location and lack of resources. ” Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) (Page 3)
Remember, we can disassemble wind turbines and solar panels if they start wrecking our environment; but all the king’s men and all the king’s horses will not be able to deconstruct natural gas wells once they start going haywire. Even if they never have a problem, drilling for more natural gas is more greenhouse gas that we will be burning and adding to Climate Change.
I don’t know, I’m just an ordinary person, but I’m thinking the DEC is going to have enough on its plate just wrestling will Climate Change in New York without having to babysit the gas industries at every single well.