If hydrofracking, or “fracking” is a new term to you, it’s an important one for residents of New York and Pennsylvania and others who live on what is known as the Marcellus Shale — a geographic formation that stretches north from West Virginia and contains one of the largest natural-gas deposits in the world.
Hydraulic fracturing uses large volumes of water containing sand and a proprietary chemical mixture – including known toxins and carcinogens – which are injected into wells at extremely high pressure to fracture bedrock and release and capture natural gas. Marcellus and Utica shales, which are located in parts of the Catskill-Delaware portion of the New York City water supply, are targeted for hydrofracking due to the large quantities of gas trapped within the rocks of these low-permeability reservoirs.
Having witnessed the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexixo, we do not want to incur the disastrous results of lax oversight in our region, especially when cleaner sources of renewable energy and energy efficiency are readily at hand.
• State and federal laws allow companies list fracking fluid ingredients as “proprietary” or “no hazardous ingredients” even if it is not the case.
• 83% of tested chemicals in Montana fracking fluids have four to fourteen adverse health effects.
• Manufacturers of the fluids recommend that many of these chemicals be disposed of in hazardous waste facilities.
• Oil and gas companies are not required by law to disclose the chemicals used and generally do not release them.
• Nearly 30% of all the fluids remain underground.
• Some of the fluids, brought back to the surface, are taken off-site to be reinjected in the ground or “land farmed” where they are mixed into the soil to evaporate.
Clearwater Takes Action, Speaks Out Against Hydrofracking; NYS Senate:
In 2010, Clearwater’s founder, Peter Seeger, banjo in hand, led a protest against hydraulic fracturing (“hydrofracking”) during a press conference outside the NYS Senate Chambers in the Capitol in Albany, calling for the NYS Legislature to pass a moratorium on this essentially unregulated technology. Speakers included actor and director Mark Ruffalo and Clearwater Board President Allan Shope. Before anyone knew it, Pete had protesters, State Senators and reporters singing together “This Land is Your Land; This Land is My Land” and “”God’s counting on Me, God’s Counting on You,” complete with a special verse about fracking. This form of inspirational activism was reminiscent of the impromptu concert held years ago in the halls of Congress in the early 1970’s when Pete and the Clearwater crew then sailed to Washington DC to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures urging Congress to adopt the Clean Water Act. With the support of celebrities like Pete Seeger, Mark Ruffalo and many others, and thousands of signatures on letters and petitions from concerned citizens, two weeks later, on August 4, 2010, the New York State Senate passed the Thompson Moratorium (S.8129-B) by a vote of 48 to 9. Buoyed by this success, Clearwater continued collecting signatures to support the Hydrofracking Moratorium. In September an electronic petition went to all 20,000 Clearwater members and supporters and signatures were forwarded to bill co-sponsors Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Energy Chairperson Kevin Cahill, and sponsor, Robert K. Sweeney. Many thanks to all who signed on in support of the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing; your efforts made a huge difference in the NYS Senate, which on August 4, 2010 passed the Thompson Moratorium (S.8129-B) with a vote of 48 to 9.
Our work isn’t over! Invite your neighbors and friends. Help spread the word to help protect NYS air quality and groundwater! Let’s protect NY and say no to unregulated hydrofracking and the immense damage to people’s lives, property and groundwater it has caused so widely in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
If you haven’t yet seen Josh Fox’s documentary, GASLAND, go to www.gaslandthemovie.com for HBO listings; also available through HBO On-Demand. Watch the trailer here: http://gaslandthemovie.com/trailer.