Hydrofracking in New York (and elsewhere)

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#1
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. :-c8-!:-{:-@
 
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#2
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.
 

Linda_D

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#7
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.
 
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#8
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).
 
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#9
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.
 

Linda_D

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#12
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.
 

mgk920

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#13
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
 

Dan

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#14
Moderator note:
I'd like to move this to the Environmental Planning forum, but we'll need a new title.
 

Dan

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#15
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.

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

Tide

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#17
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.
 

ColoGI

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#18
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)
 

Linda_D

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#19
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.
 
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