After attending the recent APA Upstate NY chapter conference, a big concern that I, and other planners where I work, is the lack of unbiased, balanced information about hydrofracking. Seriously. Here in Hippie Valley, ground zero of the anti-fracking movement, hydrofracking is presented as the equivalent of a looming Bhopal. On the other side, we see lime green-highlighted propaganda depicting wildflowers, smiling families, clear skies, and a promising future. There seems to be nothing in the middle.
Yes, I'm concerned about the short-term and long-term environmental effects, especially to drinking water. However, as a planner, I'm also concerned about ...
* Impacts on the housing market; man camps, housing shortages, high rents and real estate prices, and the impact on long-time residents.
* Impacts on roads, not just maintenance but also their character.
* Well pad sites: clearing, grading, stormwater management, screening, remediation, and so on.
* Ancillary and accessory uses: equipment storage lots, pipelines, and so on.
* Farmland that may be taken out of production.
* Disposal of toxic waste and contaminants.
* Social impacts, particularly resulting from an influx of young men.
* Hiring practices: high-paying jobs usually go to out-of-state roughnecks, engineers, managers, and so on, rather than locals.
* Viability of hospitalityuses after the boom: hotels, restaurants, etc.
Places that experienced this kind of boom-and-bust cycle are usually in the West and Southwest; not the Northeast. Northeastern planners tend not to look beyond the region, or even their own states, for best practices and lessons learned.