Looks like hydrofracking is a done deal
It looks to me like hydrofracking is a done deal in New York. We are letting the genie out of the bottle, and once it is out, the odds of getting it back in are very slim. I recently talked to Josh Fox who made the great documentary, Gasland. Anyone who has seen the film should be scared to death. Talk about cannibalism. In order to make a few bucks for New York, the Cuomo administration is endangering our most important resource, our drinking water. The evidence against this process is formidable. Hydrofracking is the process that forces sand and chemicals down into the shale in order to bring back natural gas. A good deal of New York, as well as its neighboring states, is situated on something called the Marcellus Shale. That’s where the gas is and that’s where Andrew Cuomo and his handpicked Environmental Commissioner want to permit drilling.
In Fox’s film, among many other horrifying visuals, we are treated to the sight of a consumer lighting the drinking water as it comes out of the tap! Think about that; you take a match and just light your drinking water. You’ll have a lot to remember if you see the film but you will surely not forget that image, nor will you forget the long list of life-threatening chemicals that are part of the drilling cocktail. So dangerous is this process that the same commissioner and governor who would allow the drilling in most of New York will not allow it in what they call the unfiltered aquifers that supply water to New York City and the Syracuse aquifer. You really don’t have to be a logician to ask yourself why, if it’s dangerous for New York and Syracuse, it’s not dangerous for the rest of the state.
So why are this governor and his commissioner doing this? Well, it’s all about money and getting the energy this energy-drunk country needs. Cuomo, who has put jobs at the top of his agenda, clearly believes that a lot of people will be employed if hydrofracking goes forward. Lots of good people, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and some of the brightest people in his house, have warned against it. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed suit against the federal government because the Army Corps of Engineers is not enforcing the laws. Unfortunately, the poor guy may have to defend the Department of Environmental Conservation if they are sued. That’s the job.
When New Yorkers are polled, it appears that the pro and anti frackers are dead even. Not surprisingly, the people in New York City are for the process by a slight margin, while those upstaters whose kids have to drink water that may be tainted by dangerous drugs like benzene, are against it. If the Cuomo people believe that half the state is unconcerned, they may well think they can get this by. Naturally, the Cuomo people followed the rules and allowed for citizen comment. Those opposed to the process have called on the governor to reverse what his commissioner has decided. They keep asking for more time to comment but too often in government, these comment periods are no more than a sham. This game was ended before it began.
In the meantime, the governor and his commissioner have dressed this pig up in fancy clothes. They have appointed an advisory committee with some very recognizable, prestigious names. They have said that there will be no fracking near a town or city water supply. What they don’t tell you is that a lot of people get their water from wells which could be potentially contaminated. If you read some of the horror stories from nearby Pennsylvania, you can’t help but wonder why they’d even consider trying something this dangerous when there is so much evidence that cries out for caution.
Obviously, if one child gets sick or dies as a result of hydrofracking, there will be hell to pay. Our children should never be considered collateral damage. But it seems like the die is cast. It looks like a done deal. Too bad, this is a lousy decision.
Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 10/10/11