We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The anti-energy crowd? Seriously, is that what you think? Not hardly. Although there are bomb-throwers on both sides of the issue, most who are questioning HVHF drilling are more like the "pro-energy done the right way" crowd.
Like a lot of other writers, this one conveniently avoids including information that is critical to a fair-handed evaluation of the processes by which NYS's natural gas deposits can safely be harvested. And the most important criterion that needs to be considered is the presence of something not found in a lot of the other places where HVHF has been used to extract gas from shale - DRINKING WATER for a significant population. The northeast portion of the United states is blessed to have abundant water resources that must continue to be protected at the same time drilling is being done. The science simply has not been completed. The questions have not yet been answered. No one understands the ramifications of HVHF drilling in the medium and long-term on water resources that are equally critical to natural gas resources. But more thoughtful commenters are simply saying that the questions raised by HVHF drilling in PA and other states must be answered before hydrofracking can be permitted in New York State. Anyone who claims to have definitive answers to the important questions about the impact of HVHF drilling on the quality of life "above" the Marcellus Shale formation is just not being truthful. Answer the meaningful questions. Then make an informed decision.
The inhabitants of Maggie's Farm should certainly be more in touch with the reality of life in the Northeast than to glibly insist that HVHF drilling can be as simply justified as is described in this article.
When I read an article about water problems in Dimock, PA., I spent far too much time finding an article that contained the essential information for understanding the problem: How much methane was in the well water prior to the drilling?
What set me off was a picture with grotesque looking sediment and rust filled water coming from a kitchen faucet, and my thought was "hey I know how to make my well do that too" (I know it as a result drawing more than my wells capacity in an effort to "shock" it for control of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans).
I suppose it is naive of me to write off all the anti-drilling people in NY/PA because of a subset who fill the press with fear-mongering and lies. But it really seems to me that if there was really a problem, the fear-mongering and lies wouldn't be needed.
I'm as much in favor of protecting the water supply as I am in favor of drilling and fracking.
I don't see the two as mutually exclusive, but I don't see how you can have enough energy, at prices that people want to have, without running a little bit of risk.
The anti-fracking crowd wants zero risk. In a perfect world, zero risk is what I'd ask for every day. Sadly, that's not the world in which I reside. So I'll take 'acceptable risk' any day of the week.
Does this mean I'm happy if water supplies are polluted by oil or fracking? No. But it means there are degrees to which I'm willing to take risks. The Gulf last year was a disaster, made worse not by the company alone, but by the politics played at the expense of the disaster. There were many suggested solutions which were ignored.
So far, I haven't seen the kind of pollution or damage related to fracking that the anti crowd is claiming. In my old residence of Pennsylvania, many people are quite happy to be a part of this business proposition. I can't blame them.
I am all for pushing forward with this, even as we study its effects. I think we need to be wary of the lawsuits which will undoubtedly crop up at the mere suggestion that 'fracking causes cancer/auto-immune disease/baldness/hangnails/poison ivy', which will undoubtedly appear.
Drilling and the protection of natural resources are not mutually exclusive; that's partially the point. Between the "anti-fracking crowd" and the "drill baby, drill" folks lie the majority of those whose quality of life would be impacted by HVHF drilling in NYS. You write, "The anti-fracking crowd wants zero risk." Not everyone. Most search for the appropriate balance of risk, smartly identified and evaulated, against the value of the resources to be harvested. No one understands, yet, what that level of acceptable risk is. Is it the loss of potable water sources? And if so, at what level and from whom should water be taken? Who gets to drink out of buffaloes carted to the front yard by truck every day? Whose county roads (many of which are already in deep trouble due to years of neglect) are to be pounded by more and heavier traffic? Who understands the degree of risk - the real risk, not the imagined risk - that will be incurred?
The point is that the very questions have not yet been formulated, much less the answers.
Yes, the Bradford County PA economy has been revolutionized by HVHF drilling; lives that were just hanging on have been transformed. But at what longer-term cost? No one knows, and we are not close enough to knowing those costs to allow the permitting of HVHF wells in NYS. Not yet.
Go to any water well drilling guy and they will hydraulically fracture your drinking water well if required (at a mere 100-200 ft below the surface).
The aquifer scare is used by everybody in the NE to stop anything they don't want. Usually this means houses. When it is pointed out that they already live over the aquifer, there's some harumphing but since one is allowed to invoke the "its the new people who are the risky ones" principle all is well.