"Natural gas drilling companies have major exemptions from parts of at least seven of the 15 sweeping federal environmental laws that regulate most other heavy industries and that were written to protect air and drinking water from radioactive and hazardous chemicals"
New York Times 3.3.2011
"Thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously  understood."New York Times 2.27.2011
continued below
Please Help Us Save the Catskills!
No Fracking in New York State
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, fracing, and fracture stimulation, is when shale gas drilling companies come to an area, buy up drilling rights from landowners, cut new roads and raze patches of land in formerly undisturbed natural environments, cart in and out tens of millions of gallons of water and tons of chemicals and "proppants" like sand with hundreds of big rig trucks that produce tons of diesel emissions and wear down existing roads, drill holes that go vertically down and then horizontally under multiple properties, mix the water, chemicals, and proppants together on-site to make fracking fluid, run compressors that produce more diesel emissions to pump the fluid into the wells at high pressure to shatter underground deposits of shale and release bound-up natural gas, pump some of the fluid back out and cart it off to who knows where while leaving the rest underground, install permanent equipment to "clean" and capture most of the natural gas that comes back up the well and to release gas into the air when there's excess pressure, and then pack up, go home, and cash checks while the land stays pockmarked with drill pads, the air's been polluted with volatile organic compounds, and the water supply of everyone downstream is left in jeopardy.
New York Times Breaking News
              "The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.
              Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. Their concern is based partly on a 2009 study, never made public, written by an E.P.A. consultant who concluded that some sewage treatment plants were incapable of removing certain drilling waste contaminants and were probably violating the law.
               The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and aconfidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.
But the E.P.A. has not intervened!
                In fact, federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity. And most drinking-water intake plants downstream from those sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania, with the blessing of regulators, have not tested for radioactivity since before 2006, even though the drilling boom began in 2008.
             In other words, there is no way of guaranteeing that the drinking water taken in by all these plants is safe"
NEW YORK TIMES 2.27.2011
Frack water has 10,000x more contamination 
than the EPA allows in drinking water
A typical frack job uses 25,000 gallons of chemicals
                                                   FRACKING LIQUID CONTAINER TRUCKS
       No Fracking Way: Ban Hydrofracking in NY
               Suddenly, the residents of a small town in rural New York are barraged by smartly-dressed men asking to lease their land for a sophisticated new type of gas drilling called hydrofracking.  It's safe, these men assure them.  They offer a promise of easy money.  Soon an excited frenzy of landowners-many of whom are uneducated about what they are getting themselves into--are leasing their properties left and right.  Unless someone monkey wrenches the system, western NY will be flooded with hydrofracking gas rigs within a few years.  True, landowners may make a short-term profit.  But in the long term, hydrofracking will both destroy rural communities and degrade their clean air and water.
           Hydrofracking allows gas companies to extract natural gas from shale rock-a process that was once too expensive and complex to be feasible.  Basically, a corporation drills vertically down several thousand feet to get into the Marcellus shale formation, and then drills horizontally for more than a mile through the shale layer.  Since the gas is trapped in fragmented pockets of the shale, the companies use a special fluid to extract it.  To frack open the pores in the shale rock, the companies must first "borrow" millions of gallons of water from local sources.  Then, they add sand(which holds open the rock to allow gas to seep out) and numerous chemicals.  The chemicals are considered proprietary-a "secret", in industry speak-so the landowners and residents of the area won't even know whether or not certain carcinogens and toxins are entering the soil under their feet.  Lastly, this concoction is shot deep into the ground.  Will it seep into the groundwater?  It has in Pennsylvania and in Colorado.  But the gas companies say it's safe, so don't worry: everything will be all right.
Many people argue that we need hydrofracking.  The economy of western New York is faltering, and more jobs are desperately needed.  However, hydrofracking will harm New York's economy, both in the long and short term.  Most industry workers won't come from local areas, so relatively few New Yorkers will get jobs.  Perhaps local hotels and restaurants will get more traffic.  But farmers will lose business.  Who will go to a farmer's market if they know the produce could be contaminated with carcinogens and radioactivity from hydrofracking? As well, tourism is one of the region's largest industries.  Tourists visit to breathe clean air and relax.  How long will the tourist industry survive once the atmosphere reeks of industrial pollutants?  Tourists don't come to rural New York so they can feel like they're in New Jersey.  Anyway, whatever jobs are gained will be lost once the resource is fully exploited.  
           Some environmentalists support hydrofracking; they think natural gas is an essential transition fuel that will wean America off dirtier fuels and will reduce our CO2 emissions.  Yet natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and it still releases plenty of greenhouse gasses.  Instead of investing in gas infrastructure, energy companies should develop more truly renewable energy.  We are the richest country in the world; we have the technology to power our country renewably.  What are we waiting for? 
            Hydrofracking will have a plethora of negative consequences.  Rural communalities will become more impoverished once the boom ends.  Property values will fall.  Groundwater can easily become polluted.  If drilling occurs in the NYC watershed in the Catskills, the water source of 14 million people could be in jeopardy.  Currently, New York City has some of the purist unfiltered water in the nation.  Yet, if drilling occurs in the Catskills, the city would be forced to spend about $8 billion to build a filtration plant.  Air quality in the country would deteriorate.  Truck trips in rural areas would more than quadruple, and the infrastructure isn't built for such heavy traffic.  Is hydrofracking worth it?
          The NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) addressed the issue with possibly the worst document it has ever written: the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DSGEIS).  This document was contracted out by the DEC, and one could make the argument that it was practically written by gas company lobbyists.  It fails in almost every way to protect NY from being exploited for the profit of gas companies.   According the Hudson River environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper, the DSGEIS fails to analyze the economic costs associated with drilling, fails to propose any new regulations governing drilling, fails to remember history and consider the past experiences of states that already have dealt with drilling, and even fails to adequately analyze whether the New York State government will have the resources to enforce its laws and issue permits properly.  New York's proposed regulations are terrible, but federal regulations are surprising even worse.  Even though there are many good environmental laws on the books, the gas companies have managed to wriggle out of most of them like worms.  Gas and oil companies are exempt from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Superfund Law.  So who is protecting NY from greedy gas companies?  Not the government.
        Its up to the people to stop hydrofracking in New York.  On January 25th I attended a rally in Albany against hydrofracking.   Over 600 ordinary New Yorkers took a day off work to fight for a cause they believed in.  I met a mother who was fighting to protect her young child from harmful chemicals.  I talked to teachers from the city who were worried about the quality of their drinking water.  Landowners feared their properties would lose value.    One artist was simply fighting for his state.  Together, maybe the people can defeat the powerful.  If you live in New York, you can get involved to oppose hydrofracking.
Website Builder