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Thread: Hydrofracking in New York (and elsewhere)

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    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Hydrofracking in New York (and elsewhere)

    There is an article in the NY Times today indicating that Cuomo is proposing to limit the highly controversial hydrofracking to a "few struggling counties" along the NY-PA border. As a resident of one such county I scream, "FOUL!!!" Interestingly enough the watershed for NYC and other wealthier counties would be spared from hydrofracking. I can somewhat understand the rationale of theoretically improving the the economies of these counties but at what cost? And how can one improve the economics of the area when one's quality of life non-existent because we can no longer drink the water?

    Does no one else think this is an environmental justice issue? I am scared. Part of me feels like selling and getting out now before our rivers are poisoned and no one wants to invest in a death trap.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    We are going through the same thing here in NC, basically the legislature wants to allow fracking because it improves the state's economy, but it is at the cost of the local communites located on top of the shale and around it. I shudder to think of our torn up roads, influx of out of area workers and possible drinking water impacts. The shale is next to our area's main water source (scary!) and right next door to where I live and work. We are pushing for local control (site plans, standards, etc.) but not sure if the legislature cares.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    For those of you who don't know what Fracking is by now.

    @GigCityPlanner

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    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    For those of you who don't know what Fracking is by now.

    BRILLIANT!

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I'm just going to come right out with it and ask why do you hate America?


    Truthfully it is pretty scary stuff.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I say....frack away!! Can't be any worse than what the oil industry has done.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Natural gas drillers have been using hyrdofracking in western NYS for 30 plus years without significant environmental problems.

    Would any of the opponents please explain how hydrofracking in the Marcellus shale is different than the hydrofracking that has been done for decades? I've asked this several times on different sites when this comes up, and nobody can/will give a real answer. I know they use chemicals. I know there are are waste water issues. I understand the concerns about the NYC reservoirs. Both the chemicals and the waste have NOT been a problem here in WNY. None of the minor reservoirs serving small cities and towns in this area have been affected by gas well drilling. People's private wells have also NOT been disturbed.

    The hysteria over this reminds me somewhat of the hysteria several years ago about windfarms, a lot of not particularly knowledgeable people buying into the propaganda of a dedicated group of modern day Luddites with their own agenda.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  8. #8
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I have never understood why the need to use toxic chemicals in this process. But then again, some of those same chemicals can be found in our food supply too, (which is also wrong).
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  9. #9
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Natural gas drillers have been using hyrdofracking in western NYS for 30 plus years without significant environmental problems.

    Would any of the opponents please explain how hydrofracking in the Marcellus shale is different than the hydrofracking that has been done for decades? I've asked this several times on different sites when this comes up, and nobody can/will give a real answer. I know they use chemicals. I know there are are waste water issues. I understand the concerns about the NYC reservoirs. Both the chemicals and the waste have NOT been a problem here in WNY. None of the minor reservoirs serving small cities and towns in this area have been affected by gas well drilling. People's private wells have also NOT been disturbed.

    The hysteria over this reminds me somewhat of the hysteria several years ago about windfarms, a lot of not particularly knowledgeable people buying into the propaganda of a dedicated group of modern day Luddites with their own agenda.
    Could you expand on this a bit? My understanding is that shale fracking has only been occuring since about the late 90's, and that the recent increase in shale fracking over the last few years has been due to technology allowing them to frack UNDER aquifers leading to much of the concern- combined with the fact that since about 2004 or so fracking companies have not had to disclose the materials they inject to the EPA.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I have never understood why the need to use toxic chemicals in this process. But then again, some of those same chemicals can be found in our food supply too, (which is also wrong).
    There is a reason the human body is cosidered toxic waste.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Could you expand on this a bit? My understanding is that shale fracking has only been occuring since about the late 90's, and that the recent increase in shale fracking over the last few years has been due to technology allowing them to frack UNDER aquifers leading to much of the concern- combined with the fact that since about 2004 or so fracking companies have not had to disclose the materials they inject to the EPA.
    I'm not sure what the difference is, but my brothers and I have three natural gas wells completely or partially under our property in Cattaraugus County, NY. There are gas wells up and down our road. The oldest of these wells date from the 1980s while the newest ones have been drilled in the last 5 or 6 years. Most of the wells have been fracked: the drillers shot them full of water (and possibly chemicals) to release the gas from the rock formations which are mostly limestone and sandstone I think.

    It may be that there's more to fracking the Marcellus shale formation. I think that perhaps they might drill deeper. Maybe they use chemicals in Marcellus shale, and the previous fracking process just used water. I really don't know, either, but I know that it's been a common practice that didn't cause problems. Nobody has yet explained how it's different from what went before, and that includes the articles that people use to support their opposition to fracking.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    The 'fracking' process is also becoming important to Wisconsin's economy - several major fracking sand mines are being developed in the northwestern part of the state, most within about a 30 minute or so radius of Rice Lake, WI. It is such that, although I have no article links handy, Canadian National is right now investing about $35M of their own money to restore a mothballed light branch line (it runs from their mainline at Ladysmith to Barron, WI) to service to handle the expected HEAVY sand trains.

    Mike

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    I'd like to move this to the Environmental Planning forum, but we'll need a new title.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Map of communities in New York State with anti-fracking bans in place or being considered. Source: http://www.fractracker.org/. The community where I work is located at ground zero of the anti-fracking movement, and we have a ban in place.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  16. #16
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    We're working on a symbolic resolution urging DEC to reconsider, even though we are way downstate and well outside the Shale area.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I like to think that I'm well read and learned on the hydrofracturing issues. I have done tons of research and sat through some presentations. I truly believe if done "correctly" fracking is safe. After a recent symposium with Dr. Ron Jackson of Duke (https://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/Biology/faculty/jackson/) who has studied methane and ground water throughout Pennsylvania in direct response to fracking, I believe too many fracking jobs are going on and getting rushed too fast. The process shouldn't be rushed. Concrete needs adequate time to cure and casings need to be installed correctly. When these two pieces get rushed there tends to be stray gas problems. I believe the states and locals need a larger hand in the permitting of where, such as no fracking wells within 2500 ft of a private water supply etc. but inspections and time tables for when each piece of the process of fracking is done could allow for more concrete curing and more time to install casings correctly. This would alleviate nearly all the potential contamination problems from the drilling and frackign process. It does not, however, address the surface water contamination potential from the millions of gallons needed to frack a well, but there are known safeguards that can be in place and have been used for years for traditional drilling.
    @GigCityPlanner

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I believe too many fracking jobs are going on and getting rushed too fast. The process shouldn't be rushed. Concrete needs adequate time to cure and casings need to be installed correctly. When these two pieces get rushed there tends to be stray gas problems. .
    Profits for Koch et al. are, of course, more important than your petty, anti-capitalist (and likely socialist) communitarian concerns. ;o)
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I like to think that I'm well read and learned on the hydrofracturing issues. I have done tons of research and sat through some presentations. I truly believe if done "correctly" fracking is safe. After a recent symposium with Dr. Ron Jackson of Duke (https://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/Biology/faculty/jackson/) who has studied methane and ground water throughout Pennsylvania in direct response to fracking, I believe too many fracking jobs are going on and getting rushed too fast. The process shouldn't be rushed. Concrete needs adequate time to cure and casings need to be installed correctly. When these two pieces get rushed there tends to be stray gas problems. I believe the states and locals need a larger hand in the permitting of where, such as no fracking wells within 2500 ft of a private water supply etc. but inspections and time tables for when each piece of the process of fracking is done could allow for more concrete curing and more time to install casings correctly. This would alleviate nearly all the potential contamination problems from the drilling and frackign process. It does not, however, address the surface water contamination potential from the millions of gallons needed to frack a well, but there are known safeguards that can be in place and have been used for years for traditional drilling.
    PA seems very lax in environmental regulation compared to New York and most other states in the region IMO. I think it may be a hold-over attitude from the days when big coal mining and timber harvesting companies had so much influence in the state, but it seems that most Pennsylvanians in the northwestern part of the state have no problem with letting landowners do whatever they want to their property until it messes up their own wells or a mountainside crashes down on their own homes. That attitude is one of the reasons I have never considered moving there even though I only live 10 miles from the state line, and it would probably make sense tax-wise.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jswanek's avatar
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    This is new notice given to a very old practice. Here is a hydrofracking patent given to my LONG-DEAD father-in-law in 1954:

    http://www.google.com/patents/US2827...wak%22&f=false

  21. #21
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jswanek View post
    This is new notice given to a very old practice. Here is a hydrofracking patent given to my LONG-DEAD father-in-law in 1954:

    http://www.google.com/patents/US2827...wak%22&f=false
    The first use of fracking was indeed in 1949, but the strategy, techniques and technology was different than it is today. Wider use of fracking didn't begin until the mid-1970s. Up to the early 2000s, most fracking was on vertical gas wells with only one or two fracks. With commercialization of the Barnett Shale in Texas, horizontal drilling was used for the first time on a wide scale and pumping pressures and operating times increased.

    Fracking boomed after the Energy Policy Act in 2005 exempted it from compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air and the Clean Water Act. Also, the CERCLA Superfund Act doesn't cover fracking sites.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    The first use of fracking was indeed in 1949, but the strategy, techniques and technology was different than it is today. Wider use of fracking didn't begin until the mid-1970s. Up to the early 2000s, most fracking was on vertical gas wells with only one or two fracks. With commercialization of the Barnett Shale in Texas, horizontal drilling was used for the first time on a wide scale and pumping pressures and operating times increased.

    Fracking boomed after the Energy Policy Act in 2005 exempted it from compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air and the Clean Water Act. Also, the CERCLA Superfund Act doesn't cover fracking sites.
    Thanks, Wahday. This is the first time that someone in one of these non-technical discussions has explained the difference between the "old style" fracking and the new.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    PA seems very lax in environmental regulation compared to New York and most other states in the region IMO. I think it may be a hold-over attitude from the days when big coal mining and timber harvesting companies had so much influence in the state, but it seems that most Pennsylvanians in the northwestern part of the state have no problem with letting landowners do whatever they want to their property until it messes up their own wells or a mountainside crashes down on their own homes. That attitude is one of the reasons I have never considered moving there even though I only live 10 miles from the state line, and it would probably make sense tax-wise.
    Just for the record this year PA tightened up their state fracking regulations a ton. They doubled most distances from private and public water sources. Increased bonding ten fold, and put in requirements to gain no fault clearance (which contains notification and well testing prior and post drilling).
    @GigCityPlanner

  24. #24
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Thanks, Wahday. This is the first time that someone in one of these non-technical discussions has explained the difference between the "old style" fracking and the new.
    Yeah, well, oil runs in my veins. My grandfather worked for Standard Oil which developed the Hydrafrac process, a specific hydraulic fracturing technique. I actually remember as a kid him explaining to me this innovation and how it set Standard apart from its competitors at the time. I only remember it because I thought the term "hydrafrac" sounded pretty cool. My other grandfather also worked for the oil industry with Phillips 66. My father was even born in Venezuela because his father was working there with Standard. WWII brought them back to the states.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  25. #25
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    The same new law Tide mentioned in PA that tightened some regulations also contained some horrendous clauses that, among other things, exempted natural gas drillers from all state and local zoning restrictions--driling permitted anywhere--and municipal regulation; a state appellate court last week threw out that clause as a violation of the state constitution, for infringing on local gov's constitutional mandates/powers. Also, there have been plenty of reports of homeowners discovering the hard way that the fine print of their contracts with drillers (buried in legalese) not only allows the drillers to drill anywhere on the property, even right next to the house, but the landowners have unknowingly signed away all right to control where drilling or other activities are done, all rights to sue, and any right to cancel or amend the contract w/o the driller's consent, while the driller can renew the contract unilaterally. I'd have to dig into some newspaper archives to provide details/sources. (Try Lancaster Sunday News or Philadelphia Inquirer from 2010-2012 if you want to look yourselves).
    The zoning exemptions and one-sided contract clauses (and the federal exemptions from environmental laws) are what concern me almost more than the chemicals--both smack of one law for the big company and another law for regular folks. I know, I know, everyone needs to read a contract and make sure they understand it all before signing. Caveat emptor, etc. But it's dangerously easy to slip things by people with dense, tricky jargon and a bit of sales pressure, and I think certain rights (legal recourse in case of dispute), in serious circumstances that can ruin your home, life, etc, should not be waivable. No one should be able/allowed to require you to sign away major rights as a condition of doing business, and a contract that does so should not be valid/enforceable in court. After all, courts are an arm of government, and every act of theirs is bound by federal and state constitutions (in the US), and in the end a contract's validity depends on it being enforceable by a court when one or more parties involved cease to agree or keep their word. But I'm digressing way off topic now, so I'll just wrap this up.

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