Saturday, June 22, 2013

NYS hesitation puts an undue burden on the Fracking industry—Oh puh-lease


NYSCleanWaterWhile we here in New York State wait to see if Governor Cuomo Fracks us out of our economic woes, we should be entertaining more sustainable business models for our region. Rather than pining away for a Faustian bargain with the Fracking industry —where we sell our environmental soul for another fossil fuel quick fix—we could be doing something useful like jump-starting new businesses and jobs by preventing food waste from our landfills or making all events zero waste events.

An increasing number of New York State municipalities [see ‘Current High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling Bans and Moratoria in NY State’] and counties are saying no to Fracking. Soon Monroe County may join the wary ranks as Monroe County Democrats develop “plans to submit bills to ban fracking and all fracking related activities in Monroe County, including waste water and cuttings disposal in county dumps and treatment plants.” (R-Cause) The measure is getting some bipartisan support and maybe that’s because Fracking contamination knows no political boundaries.

At the risk of many other businesses in New York State—beer, tourism, and these 1,000 Businesses for a Ban—the Fracking industry is determined to undermine all bans on Fracking by relentlessly begging the NYS Court of Appeals to gut Home Rule.

Towns Fight to Cement Court Victory on Fracking Ban Two towns seeking to keep their local fracking ban on the books are fighting to cement their court victories over the oil and gas industry. The Town of Dryden submitted court papers yesterday arguing that the Court of Appeals—New York’s highest court—should reject the industry’s request for permission to appeal the closely watched case. On May 2, a state intermediate appeals court ruled in favor of the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, affirming lower court decisions upholding the towns’ right to ban oil and gas development activities—including the controversial technique of fracking—within town limits. On May 31, oil and gas industry lawyers filed papers asking the Court of Appeals to review the decision. (June 14, 2013) EcoWatch

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which has been charged with refereeing this energy option train wreck, is soldiering on despite suffering the slings and arrows of public anger. Meanwhile, they are falling down on their crucial responsibility to report on sewage overflows to the public. [To get your heads around the full explanation of this raw sewage fiasco, read this very comprehensive Investigative Post report: DEC’s sewage discharge reports lack details]

If so many, including Governor Cuomo, were not so convinced that Fracking is the only way to get us back to economic health, we could leave it up to the EPA (whose dirty job this should have been in the first place) and let the DEC actually achieve their mission: "To conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being."

But that could take until 2016. And, we wouldn’t want to put an undue burden the Fracking industry with our environmental and public health concerns, now would we?

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