I've reported on this once before, last summer, and much of what I linked to then remains the same. As I stated the last time, I do not consider myself alarmist, or overly emotional about most issues. Yet I believe that this issue, the issue of whether or not New York State should even allow natural gas drilling with hydraulic fracturing will be, will be, the environmental battle of the decade. Or it should be.
I went to a symposium on this issue at Cooper Union on Thursday night. I heard a few cool scientific heads speak, including Dr. Theo Colborn, who gave a lengthy presentation on the chemicals involved in the hydraulic fracturing process.
A few facts for the people of New York City:
- Ninety percent of our water comes from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds.
- It is virtually unfiltered.
- If it was filtered, it wouldn't be filtered for the chemicals used in fracking.
- The Safe Drinking Water Act or Clean Water Act DOES NOT cover oil and gas drilling or production. Repeat it to your self. It's true.
- Hundreds of chemicals are used in the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process.
- About 500 are known to the public, hundreds more are a mystery (proprietary) to the public.
- These chemicals are injected under extremely high pressure into the ground or are used around the well pad and retainment ponds.
- The gas wells will collectively use billions of gallons of water for drilling and pumping operations. They simply pump the water from local streams and rivers into tanker trucks.
- The waste cocktail, known as "brine" because it is saltier than sea water, is usually left to evaporate and/or dumped at local municipal sewage plants never designed for much more than the municipal waste stream.
- DEC tests show extremely high radioactivity in the NYS fracking brine and sludge.
- One way or the other this water-chemical cocktail will migrate into the water table and our water supply.
My questions for New York City gardeners are:
Will you water your plants with: benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, or naphthalene?
Will you wash your soiled hands with diesel fuel, methanol, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers, hydrochloric acid, or sodium hydroxide?
You will because these will be in our water.
See this interview on NOW from PBS. See the Endocrine Disruption website for the health effects of many of the known chemicals used in fracking. Article in Scientific American about natural gas drilling. Splashdown PA is an in-depth Pennsylvania blog on the issue. You could sign this letter. Want to see what one of our watershed counties might look like in the near future -take a look at Bradford County, PA, adjacent to the NY border.
Inform yourself, New Yorker. Read the opposing points of view.
There is so much information on the internet regarding easterners experience with fracking, you can be easily overwhelmed. It's pretty simply to me though. Let's call our representatives and tell them that even in these billion dollar shortfall budgetary years, we cannot accept this risk to our water and health for a few more tax bucks in the state coffer.
- Write Governor Paterson -here's the link.
- Use this handy dandy link to find your state senator, assemblyperson, and U.S. House Rep.
- Then email your assemblyperson after finding their email here.
- Find your state senator and write them here.
- And, after all that, write Pete Grannis, Commisioner of the NYS DEC -you guessed it -here.
You could also write these guys: