Just a few weeks after the moratorium on new generation horizontal fracking for natural gas ended in New York State, the opposition held its second protest at Governor Cuomo’s office since. In addition, they have been calling the Governor every Monday and are holding another action next Wednesday. Fifty at the first protest (following hundreds two days earlier at Foley Square) at Cuomo’s since the moratorium ended, eighty people at the second, the movement in New York City has not shown to have accepted defeat.
The plan of the Governor and the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) is to ban fracking in public parks and forests, and in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The resistance in New York City did not in any way shrink; in fact it swelled, treating this deal not as a compromise but as an unequal and potentially insufficient (as regarding major watersheds) deal.
Mayor Bloomberg, who came out in support of the plan, also supports infrastructure that will bring Marcellus Shale gas to New York City. In November he sent a letter to the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) in opposition to fracking in the New York City Watershed specifically, based on a report that he funded known as the Hazen and Sawyer Report.
The natural gas industry tends to defend fracking as a practice over sixty years old (and some companies deny that any contamination of water due to fracking has ever occurred, while Aubrey Mcclendon on 60 Minutes admitted to past accidents). However, the opposition is over new generation-fracking, specifically drilling for gas in shale rock, and using a new mixture of chemicals.
According to David Braun of United for Action, vertical fracking (new generation) is currently happening -since former Governor Paterson issued an executive order last spring- but horizontal fracking, which uses more water and more chemicals, isn’t expected to be able to happen in New York until this following spring. “They’re releasing the final version of the SGEIS,” (supplemental generic environmental impact statement), said Braun, which will serve as a “regulatory structure.” Following the release of this document, says Braun, there will be a 60-day public comment period.
Environmentalists stress that fracking breaks up methane from shale into above aquifers; the “frack fluid” could spill into waterways, and that the waste water can’t be disposed of safely in New York. The industry stresses that it will create thousands of domestic jobs and burns cleaner than other fossil fuels. Green jobs, efficiency and renewable energy often aren’t mentioned in the debate, but when they are, are told from very different points of view. New York State recently passed an On-Bill Financing Law to create thousands of green jobs, but relies on awareness of property owners.
Posted at: Exaimner.com