Saturday, January 05, 2013

Protecting New York State’s environment against Fracking

MustFrackWhy any state would assign their environmental protection agency (DEC in New York) with the task of enabling gas drilling companies to wreak havoc on their environment at all is very curious. The DEC allowing the Fracking companies to frame the Revised Draft SGEIS as solely an engineering process, instead of an overall environmental issue, is like bringing the fox in to formulate henhouse security.
If I were King of the World (don’t worry, a very unlikely prospect indeed), I would conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment by challenging any industry, especially a fossil fuel industry. I’d make them prove to me that any process or chemicals they might use that might affect our environment be safe for the public and the environment in a world that is warming. But alas, I’m not the king, just an ordinary citizen.
This Fracking debacle in New York State reached a higher level of absurdity this week when someone revealed the inner thoughts of state officials on the Fracking process’s potential health and safety to the media and all hell broke loose—which all sounds pretty emotional (and not science) to me.
Is hydrofracking safe with DEC? A year-old state report leaked to the New York Times and Gannett’s Albany bureau says that hydraulic gas drilling can be done safely if the state Department of Environmental Conservation stays on top of the regulations. Never has there been an environmental issue in New York that has garnered so much emotion and attention than hydrofracking. A record-breaking 80,000 comments were sent to the DEC when it released its first review of the controversial process of extracting natural gas deep underground with sand, massive amounts of water and chemicals. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long delayed a decision on hydrofracking in the state, saying he will rely on science —not emotion. This is the same governor who directed a “white paper” on air pollution at the Peace Bridge that local academics were highly critical of for its lack of science. (January 3, 2013) Investigative Post
The problem of pushing Fracking on New York State is that you cannot contain the news from other places that Fracking is a really bad way to take greenhouse gases from the ground, which of course we shouldn’t be doing in a time of Climate Change anyway.  Fracking wells could be leaking 9% of gas, says recent research
January 11th is now the latest drop-dead date to make public comment on the health and safety aspects of the regulations. But expressing your general concerns about the state of our environmental health, where our water quality is already lousy and thousands of Brownfields aren’t being cleaned up, isn’t on the plate:
The Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting comments on its revised proposal to amend 6 NYCRR Parts 52, 190, 550-556 and Subpart 750-1, and to add Part 560 and Subpart 750-3, to address high-volume hydraulic fracturing. New York State High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Comments NYS DEC.
If you don’t refer to a specific section of Revised Draft SGEIS and miraculously ‘catch’ the DEC or the Fracking industry on some engineering technicality, you are not going to be heard at all. It’s as if you cannot make a complaint about speeding cars in your neighborhood unless you know how to assemble a car. My brain aches just thinking about what might go wrong drilling miles underground, then horizontally for more fossil fuels. And you don’t have to be an engineer to be aware of the Fracking problems folks in other areas are confronting.

All this Fracking furry is going on while a report was released that stated “According to a new analysis of thousands of U.S. women of child bearing age, most exceeded the median blood level for two or more environmental pollutants - lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) - that are known to harm brain development of fetuses and infants..” And we are about to allow an industry to drill for our natural resources with chemicals they won’t divulge. All sound too much to absorb? Why not attend a local Letter Writing Party and learn how to fill out that Fracking comment before it’s too late?

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