Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fracking Fracas

Yesterday, a legislative hearing on the Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed budget for 2013-2014 turned into three intense hours of questions about hydrofracturing for DEC commissioner Joe Martens. The Times-Union has the story, which includes this photograph by Paul Buckowski showing anti-fracking protesters on the Million Dollar Staircase in the Capitol: "Grilling over fracking."  


  1. Update today from a dear friend from Trumansburg, NY , that was at Albany Rally ,yesterday Feb,4th...
    "It was hard to maintain a sense of hope. Commissioner Martens of the DEC went over the budget which has no money or studies pertaining to fracking. In fact, he claimed there is a law that makes capping the wells madatory. He was exposed, and quickly back pedaled. The currents budget has millions in in to cap old wells (not frack) It goes on : road repair, inspectors, monitoring- and the tax payer picks up the bill. Then there is no economic study. And the health study will be public soon and there is no official period for public comment - they "har-har" and say that they are sure they will hear from the public. But, without it being a requirement, the DEC has no madate to respond to the concerns. When asked to study the mix of chemicals and give them for scientific analysis, he said " We don't know what chemicals out of the 300 will be used in NY" Basically, we have no knowledge of the industry and won't know unless we have some wells to study" And comparing us to PA is apples and oranges. The grandson (79) of Mahat Ghandi was there. Evidently, he lives in NY and warned that civil disobedience will be a very long struggle.
    It seems the plan is to permit three wells near me in the Southern tier - test run! "

  2. This 'alleged' indecision on this issue is criminal.

    There's mountains of evidence against fracking.

    Just another case of big oil $ scamming 'elected politicians' and the dumbed down.

    Big Oil destroyed the Gulf of Mexico - now it wants our ability to live off the earth for their empty profits.

    Then theres 'Tar Sands' coming to a town near you!

  3. Fracking provides cheap clean abundant energy, lots of jobs and lots of new wealth all over America. The unemployment rate in North Dakota, center of fracking, is 2.8%!

    USA carbon emissions dropped last year as natural gas replaced coal and oil as energy sources. If you're worried about global warming, climate change, &c isn't this supposed to be a good thing?

    Re safety of energy production: We've all been happy for decades to consume coal-generated energy. Where are the boycotts and Albany protests on behalf of the coal miners who get killed on the job every month of every year of every decade for all this time? Who's lost his life from fracking?

    There is no risk-free production of energy -- or of anything else for that matter.

    If New York misses the great fracking revolution, the State will continue its long-term decline relative to the rest of America, and Upstate in particular will become even more depressed, depopulated, and ruined than it is already. Oh right, I almost forgot -- "historic preservation" of shuttered factories, turned by grant money into yoga centers and gallery space for third-rate artists, is supposed to do more good than thriving businesses with lots of new jobs and high pay (exactly what Columbia County doesn't have, for instance).

    Happily I think this Governor is going to give the green light. Can't happen fast enough for me. My 2c.

    -- Jock Spivy

    1. Shucks Josh, what a misinformed post !

      You must own stock in this fraud.

  4. Just rape the earth a little more so that we can have lots of lights at the Super Bowl.

  5. Jock, you sound a lot like the gas lobby in PA, who spoke so eloquently of Harrisburg's bankruptcy & that State's post-industrial decline, alas we offer you the golden calf of natural gas! But much like the gas lobby in PA, your claims are unsubstantiated, in some cases, patently false.

    Now we all know that Cuomo's dreams of a White House bid means he'll placate the Oil & Gas lobby for his future PACs, & spoil our region for generations, while the DEC couldn't be any less prepared or informed about what lies ahead. But the jobs! The greenhouse reductions! Lets look at those more closely.

    From Cornell:

    "Natural gas is mostly methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas, especially in the short term, with 105 times more warming impact, pound for pound, than carbon dioxide (CO2)"

    Those illustrious jobs, well you can trust that Chesapeake Energy doesn't hire drill pad engineers in downtown Binghamton, but if you don't, the data is there to illustrate it. The sum total of job creation in PA? 4,144 according to the BLS, funny considering the gas industry touted 216,000 by 2015. You'd trade clean water, arable land, & in-tact forest blocks for some pithy minimum-wage jobs at sprawled Super 8s, Stewarts, & Mobils?

    A gas boom is like any other extractive resource boom, Jock, look at the history.

    One of my coworkers did biological inventories in the 80's in Northern PA, she was brought to tears explaining what she saw there last summer. 1/3 of their State Forests have been fracked, now they're conducting seismic surveys in some of the most pristine wild forests left. Audubon protected parcels, federally listed species, forest blocks that sink hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2; these will not slow the proliferation of drill pads and the economic miracle they provide!

    I've seen the draft regs, they're garbage, notwithstanding the fact that there isn't the staff to make them matter anyways. It's all so unbelievably stupid. Trade a few years of boom money for generations of toxicity, doesn't it all sound so familiar?

  6. December's National Geographic carried a pretty good introduction to the science of methane and the technique of fracking:

    "Good Gas, Bad Gas":


    There is a moderate position here somewhere, but nobody's interested in moderation, least of all the industry. The wind is in their sails, while everyone else shares in the culpability.

    Wouldn't you love to how much methane Columbia County's North Bay landfill gives off? This debate should begin at home with local knowledge. What is our own part in the atmospheric release of methane at North Bay?

  7. "Wouldn't you love to know," rather.

    Damned typos.