A Few of Fracking's Inconvenient Truths

Paul Ciavarri

During Gov. Cuomo's January State of the State addresss, hundreds rallied in Albany for a ban in New York State on horizontal hydraulic hydrofracking. There was interesting coverage from WSKG.


Cuomo avoided the topic in his address, without explanation. We do know public opinion is sharply divided. And a recent poll shows greater opposition than before.


But we need a broader public discussion. Silence plays to the power of the gas industry - as media silence plays to the Appalachian coal industry. And one puzzling notion worth confronting is that fracking, while polluting in places like Texas, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania, won't harm New York State.


This notion butts heads with several of fracking's inconvenient truths:


1) Air pollution from fracking near Forth Worth, Texas, has increased dangerously as gas drilling in the Barnett Shale has expanded.


2) The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that fracking fluids were found in an underground aquifer and drinking water in Pavillion, Wyoming, (or see this detailed report; interestingly, public comment on the findings extends until September 30, 2013.)


3) In Pennsylvania, a study by the New York Times (NYT) indicates that the gas industry in 2008 and 2009 polluted Pennsylvania drinking water with radioactive waste by trucking wastewater to treatement plants unable to filter out the radioactivity.


    How many people drank water with radioactivity?  We don't know. But now, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has decided to study Marcellus Shale radioactivity.


One of the wise sayings attributed to Albert Einstein is that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, and expect a different result.


Given hydrofracking's track record, including anger in communities, air and water pollution, and ill-advised forest destruction, should a sane person expect anything different from the process for New York State?

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