Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Latest on Fracking in Three States: PA, NJ, NY

New York State Senator Greg Ball describing fracking in PA and calling for moratorium.

Posted by: Noël Jones

Now that the drinking water contamination resulting from the process of fracking for natural gas has been raised in the mainstream consciousness, and Ian Urbina of The New York Times has reported in his recent article that the U.S. Geological Survey has cut its estimates of natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale, we are seeing very different actions taken by politicians in different states who share the Delaware River watershed, where tens of thousands of wells are slated to be drilled in the next 20 years. As opposition among citizens, environmental groups and certain elected officials grows, the natural gas industry has bought ad time on the cable news networks, touting the
benefits of natural gas, and encouraging residents to demand more production--even to produce cars that run on natural gas.

So how are PA, NJ, and NY handling this? 

Well, New York passed a moratorium on drilling last year under Gov. Patterson that was meant to stay in place until the EPA finished their cumulative impact study, which is due for completion in 2013. But the state's new governor has vowed to overturn the moratorium. Above is a video of NY State Senator, Greg Ball, who recently visited our state and saw the devastation that fracking has wrought for residents of Dimock, PA (just two hours north of us) and is calling on colleagues in the NY Senate to uphold the moratorium.

So if we're New York's example of why not to allow fracking, you'd think that we'd have a moratorium in Pennsylvania too, right? Wrong. Gov. Tom Corbett, who accepted over $800,000 from the natural gas industry during his campaign, has stripped DEP officers of their ability to give out fines (they must all be funneled through Harrisburg and approved by one of only two officers that head the department), has done everything in his power to fast-track new drilling, and even went so far as to suggest to trustees of Edinboro University in Lancaster, PA, who were upset about his recent budget cuts to education, that they could fill the gap by allowing natural gas drillers to drill on campus. That's right--you heard me--on campus.

And what about New Jersey? According to Douglass Brill's article for the Express-Times, Gov. Christie, in his infinite wisdom today, VETOED a statewide ban on fracking that the NJ State Assembly had gotten passed. Now the question is whether they will override his veto.

Please make it a regular part of your week, to click on one of the links to state government on the right of this blog's home page, to write a quick email to your representative or senator to call for a halt to all new natural gas drilling until the EPA study is complete. Set a repeat calendar reminder on your computer, and toss off an email a week until we win! This is our health, our property values, and our way of life we are fighting for. Nobody is going to fight it for us. The drillers do not care about us--they are just getting rich. We each have to take responsibility to fight this regularly and consistently. Only a large amount of public will can succeed in pressuring our lawmakers to ban fracking or risk not getting re-elected.


david said...

Well, a couple of funny side notes. The GOP assault on the EPA continues unabated...they simply want to be rid of it , which would be handy as we are fracking our way into next generations EPA suppersites. And the Federal Govt now says that there is 80% less gas to be Fracked in the Marceluss shale than they originally prophesied...ooopps.
Sort of good news all around though, less gas equals less profits, equals less greed. And probably less environmental destruction.
The EPA though...well they have been slated for destruction...though they are fighting.
As to the rest, hopefully once the news sinks in that they've been played and that the gas gold rush now looks a bit more like a gas tin rush...investors might rethink destroying entire communities on such speculation. And with a little luck NY'ers get involved and even one truly big name can't hurt.
Still, the signs are looking a bit better for the future of clean water and breathable air here in sunny ole Easton.
It's not yet won and may not be, but the future is looking just a bit brighter.

noel jones said...

thanks for posting--please the link to state government on the right side of the home page and pick either bob freeman or bob mensch to send an email and give them your two cents.

then do it again next week!

Dennis R. Lieb said...

As I've said before, regulation isn't the answer. Even if there was one regulator per well (never happening) it would still be the equivalent of herding cats.

If you want to see how the ordinance-based banning method works you can attend the CELDF sponsored conference in Williamsport on Sept 17. Tom Linzey, ex. director of CELDF will be there along with Dr. Ingraffia of Cornell (a fracturing mechanics engineer) and Pittsburgh city council person Doug Shields (responsible for the anti-fracking ordinance in Pittsburgh).

It is a free event. I will be giving Noel event info soon. This event is being sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Community Rights Network since such an organization does not yet exist in Williamsport.


noel jones said...

Readers note:

this video has apparently been blocked on youtube now...

noel jones said...

looks like it's back now...