NOTE: This is a guest post from our friends at Environmental Advocates of New York.
New York State is four years deep into a passionate debate about the pros and cons of industrial gas drilling called “fracking.” You may have heard about fracking by watching the documentary film Gasland, or The Colbert Report or The Daily Show — fracking’s been all over the news for years now.
Here’s the lowdown: From start to finish, fracking is an industrial process that threatens our water and our health. Fracking requires millions of gallons of water, sand and hundreds of toxic chemicals that are pumped deep underground under enormous pressure to release gas trapped in rock formations. At the scale proposed — and New York State leaders are contemplating tens of thousands of gas wells over the next several years — fracking will endanger our water and forever alter the character of our communities.
Fracking is already happening in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wyoming, Texas and elsewhere. In each state, fracking has brought a host of problems to local residents. Roads are crumbling under constant use by hundreds of trucks and heavy machinery traveling to and from drilling sites, trees and meadows are flattened to make room for concrete well pads, and fish, birds and other wildlife are dying off in record numbers in and around drilling sites.
But that’s not all. Fracking jeopardizes our health, too. In nearby Dimock, PA, residents can no longer drink, bathe, or otherwise use their well water because it’s been poisoned by fracking. In Wyoming—big sky country—air pollution from fracking rivals Los Angeles. On some days the air is so polluted that residents are advised to stay indoors! And many of the toxic chemicals used in fracking fluids are known carcinogens.
For several years, Environmental Advocates of New York and our Water Rangers partners have been fighting the gas industry’s well-financed push to open our state to drilling. We’ve seen the impact that poorly regulated fracking has had on other states, and we don’t want the same for New York.
Right now we’re calling on state leaders, especially Governor Andrew Cuomo, to require a study of fracking’s health impacts before making a final decision about drilling in the Empire State. The New York State Assembly recently proposed a $100,000 comprehensive and independent study of the health impacts of fracking. The cost of the study amounts to a drop in the bucket of the state’s $132 billion budget — a small price to pay when the future health of our communities, water and air are on the line — but it didn’t make the final cut!
In public statements and interviews, Governor Cuomo has said that science and science alone will inform the state’s decision on fracking. Here’s an opportunity for the Governor to put his money where his mouth is. Hundreds of doctors and healthcare professionals have insisted on a study of fracking’s health impacts. But these expert pleas have been ignored.
Now that the state budget is wrapped up, we’ll put the pressure on state lawmakers and the Governor and keep insisting that New York State study fracking’s health impacts. We’ll keep educating elected officials in New York about the dangers of fracking and reveal the truths about gas drilling the industry doesn’t want New Yorkers to know.
Governor Cuomo and our elected officials have an opportunity to learn from other states if fracking is permitted. Let’s not waste our chance to learn from their mistakes. There’s no need to rush fracking. The gas has been trapped in New York’s shale formations for millions of years. It’s not going anywhere.
Learn more about Environmental Advocates of New York and the Water Rangers, a coalition of more than a dozen groups across the state, and their work to educate New Yorkers with facts to speak up and protect our water from fracking. We hold state leaders accountable for their actions, which have the power to impact the health of 19 million New Yorkers.
Photo from ThinkStockPhotos
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.