Thursday, June 14, 2012

A modest proposal for the Empire State as it risks Fracking

 

Governor Cuomo’s scheme to get the camel’s nose of Fracking into the New York State environmental tent via the tear in our economic fabric-- “…several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania...” (NYT) seems perverse at best.

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration is pursuing a plan to limit the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing to portions of several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support for the technology. The plan, described by a senior official at the State Department of Environmental Conservation and others with knowledge of the administration’s strategy, would limit drilling to the deepest areas of the Marcellus Shale rock formation in an effort to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination. (June 13, 2012) Hydrofracking Under Cuomo Plan Would Be Restricted to a Few Counties - NYTimes.com

At worst, the governor’s plan is based on misinformation, the economic might of the fossil fuel industry, and science from a planet we no longer live on—one that isn’t warming due to anthropomorphic accelerated Climate Change. Tiptoeing around the powerful New York City water supplies and over the communities that have moratoriums on Fracking does not hide the danger Fracking imposes on the entire environmental health of our state.

Good grief. It’s so tiring to hear the continual bludgeoning of the governor by the economic imperatives hammered by the fossil fuel industry and those clamoring to make some rich, or even to get others saved by drilling for fossil fuels in our state.

Look. We don’t need this Fracking money. We can create jobs, long-term, great-paying, sustainable jobs that won’t run dry by developing renewable energy—wind, solar, and geothermal. Toss in battery storage, conservation, energy efficiency, and a smart grid and New York State will be ready with fresh clean water for the economic boom that will come as our water-rich state becomes a Mecca during Climate Change.

Others have talked about the dangers of Fracking more eloquently and researched this issue more thoroughly than I. And most New Yorkers don’t want the threat to our environment and well-being that this technology imposes.

Survey: New Yorkers say gas drilling not worth the risk More than half of New York state residents believe that the environmental risks of natural gas drilling outweigh the revenues produced by such activity, according to the latest Empire State Poll conducted by Cornell's Survey Research Institute. Fully 52 percent of New Yorkers polled stated that the risks outweigh revenues for gas drilling, compared with 27 percent who believe the revenues outweigh the risks and 21 percent who did not know enough about the issue to form an opinion. (June 3, 2012) Cornell Chronicle Online

So, I’ll just offer this modest proposal. Require that the companies Fracking in New York State submit a substantial down-payment (billions and billions of dollars) for their privilege to Frack our natural gas. When they are done and nothing goes wrong as they continually promise, they can have the down payment back, just as if they were renting our environment with their risky behavior—which they are. When things go bad however and our water starts on fire, or our fresh water get contaminated, and we get stuck with a state of pollution, we can just take this pittance and try to recover what we didn’t need Fracked in the first place.

If we cannot stop the continual assault on our environment that will be challenged enough by Climate Change, at least we can hold those accountable by holding onto their money—instead of trying to wrangle it out of them later in the courts.

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