More Impressions on Fracking Report
September 8th, 2011
“A new report out of Albany yesterday confirms what most folks already know: Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” will bring huge benefits to New York — with scant chance of environmental harm,” reads the opening line of the NY Post’s editorial on fracking this morning. Guess what? The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Green Party don’t buy it.
Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council has a blog up detailing what he sees as the major missing elements of the Department of Environmental Conservations new environmental study of fracking.
“Our first impression of the new draft environmental study is that it has left a boatload of unresolved issues and unanswered questions in its wake,” writers Goldstein.
What does the NRDC think is missing? Like he said–a boat load.
1. The report fails to address how to deal with fracking in flood plains–an issue made all the more poignant by tropical storm Irene.
2. The report fails to propose how to protect small communities from “rapid industrialization”–such as pollution, heavy machinery etc. when fracking takes off.
3. The report is vague on what will happen to millions of gallons of toxic waste water from fracking.
For more of what the NRDC thinks is misgiving check out Goldstein’s blog.
Meanwhile the Green Party just wants to throw the entire study in the trash and demands that Gov. Andrew Cuomo institute a ban on fracking. See a snippet of their statement here:
“DEC’s report makes it clear that the state’s primary focus is clearing the way for the petro-chemical industry to reap enormous profits, cloaked in the language of the potential economic benefit to workers. While the DEC claims its “number one priority is to protect the state’s drinking water and environment in concert with exploring options to safely and efficiently extract the state’s natural gas,” there is no way to safely protect drinking water and frack for natural gas. This report greases the skids for hydrofracking to start as soon as possible in New York. This is a terrible blow against the environment and the communities in the Marcellus Shale region, which will be negatively impacted by the damage done to their water supply, land, and the natural beauty of that area. It does nothing to lead us to a post-fossil fuel future and towards renewables in this era where we are on the tipping point of catastrophic climate change; fracking and natural gas are a bridge to nowhere, not economic prosperity.”
And here are the comments that follow:
It doesn’t matter how long the SGEIS is, it isn’t regulation: it’s a study”, said Mike Bernhard, GPNYS upstate Fracking Coordinator, referring to the Supplementary Generic Environmental Impact Study, to which a socio-economic impact study was appended today. “The original 1992 GEIS on gas and oil mining was never codified as law or regulation, but the DEC issued permits nonetheless. It is state policy to begin issuing permits as soon as the comment period on the current study ends, without first codifying regulations.”
“If the state intended the Department of Environmental Conservation to conserve the environment, it wouldn’t have preempted municipalities from controlling drilling”, notes Cecile Lawrence, GP candidate for Tioga County legislature. “It wouldn’t have gifted Gascorp with the Compulsory Integration law that allows drillers to horizontally drill unleased land. And it wouldn’t have kept quiet when tens of thousands of leases – with no environmental or landowner protections - were being signed. The SGEIS won’t change those facts.”
“And it doesn’t matter how complete or otherwise the study is”, said Howie Hawkins, party co-chair. “Its content, and the public reaction to it, is largely invisible and irrelevant: It is simply a political football that Andrew Cuomo has to carry across the finish line, so that his corporate clients can begin to drill the Marcellus shale. ”
“The Green Party of New York State is opposed to the fracking process, and calls for and supports a total ban. Greens from around the state have been actively involved from the beginning in resisting and fighting the gas and oil industry, promoting the Avella/Colton ban legislation and educating the public about this very ungreen process”, said Hawkins. ” Further fossil-fuel development – with its demands for new and dangerous infrastructure - will starve conservation-led approaches to a renewable energy future of the capital and intelligence they need now,” concluded Hawkins.By David King on September 8, 2011, 8:13 am
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