Posts Tagged ‘Hydrofracking in New York’


April 8, 2013

New NY 23rd

 Joe Hoff, Chairman of Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking, keeps track of the Hydrofracking Legislation, Court Cases and similar activities. He occasionally sends out a summary. The list below is his notes from New York State. I will post his list of other states and countries at another date. To get on his mailing list, (or to update him on local happenings) just contact him at:

In a move that was applauded by local residents and environmental activists, the Putman County Legislature voted unanimously to ban the sale, application and disposal of hydrofracking waste products in their county.  The new law also bars the processing of fracking waste at Putnam’s wastewater treatment plants and applying fracking brine on county roads and properties for de-icing and dust control.

New York State

208 Communities Protected, (48 of these are in the NYC/Syracuse Watersheds), 92 Municipalities Staging for Passage of Draft Legislation – 300…

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Hydrofracking for me, but not for thee

March 18, 2013
hemlock canadice,jpg

Click to enlarge.

My friend Hal Bauer, a long-time and committed environmental activist and organic farmer, e-mailed me this graphic.  As a resident of the city of Rochester, N.Y., I get my drinking water from the pristine Hemlock and Canadice lakes 28 miles to my south—unlike my suburban neighbors, who drink mostly treated water from Lake Ontario supplied by the Monroe County Water Authority.

Hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas is a process that involves fracturing deep underground strata of shale with explosives, and forcing out the trapped oil and gas by means of a high-pressure mixture of water and detergent chemicals.   The chemicals as well as some of the toxic underground metals could be dangerous if they got into the water table, and the DEC takes that danger seriously enough to protect the watersheds of the New York City and Syracuse water supplies.  Why, then, do I not deserve the same protection?

The DEC leases public lands to oil and gas drillers.   Historically the DEC has charged significantly less than the drillers pay private land-owners.  I bet this is still true, although I don’t know it for a fact.

Click on Leasing of Natural Gas Drilling Rights on Public and Private Land in New York for a 2003 study by Katherine E. Ziegenfuss and Duane Chapman of Cornell University.  That was before the current boom in hydrofracking, so my guess is that the disparity is even greater now.

Click on Hydrofracking and carbon caps for a post of mine with good links explaining the hydrofracking process and the hydrofracking controversy in New York state.

What’s the hurry on hydrofracking?

October 5, 2011

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation, with the approval of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has set up a fast-track approval process for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state.  Public comments are being sought on the process itself and on the DEC’s proposed rules for the process at the same time, rather the one first and then the other if approved.  The comment period ends Dec. 12, and the DEC will then consider the comments and make its decision.

What’s the hurry?  The natural gas has been under the ground for hundreds of millions of years.   It won’t go away if the state government takes a slow and careful approach to studying hydraulic fracturing.  The natural gas will only become more valuable over time.  And – who knows? – maybe new technologies will be discovered that answer or mitigate current objections.

I can understand why natural gas companies are eager to drill.  If a natural resource is available, a business will want to exploit it before a competing business gets access to it.  But this is not necessarily in the public interest, and the DEC ought to take a longer-range view.

Hydraulic fracturing – “hydrofracking” for short – is a process for extracting hard-to-get natural gas from shale formations.  A casing is sunk deep into the shale formation, then horizontally.  The shale is fractured, and water mixed with detergent is forced into the fractures at high pressure, forcing out the natural gas.

Josh Fox, producer of the documentary movie Gasland, who is shown in the video above, says hydrofracking posts dangers to the environment and to public health.  The detergents contain toxic chemicals which potentially could contaminate underground water.  Natural gas (methane) burns cleanly, but in its raw state is a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide.  The process of hydrofracking creates wear and tear on the land, and on local roads and bridges.

But hydrofracking creates jobs in regions of New York state where unemployment is high.  Natural gas drillers say the shale formations are so far beneath the watershed that contamination is impossible.  The DEC says that hydrofracking, if done right, should not have an unacceptable environmental impact.

At present we need fossil fuels and nuclear power to maintain our industrial civilization.  The easy-to-get fossil fuels are being used up, and, unless alternatives are developed, it will be necessary to authorize hydrofracking for natural gas, mountaintop removal for coal and deep ocean drilling for oil, or revert to a primitive existence.  But we need not be in a hurry to take irrevocable actions.  The natural gas, coal and oil will not go away.  They still be there if and when we decide we need them.