KATONAH, N.Y. Industry experts, doctors, economists and scientists testified in Katonah last week at a hearing on fracking, hosted by state Senator Greg Ball (R, C Patterson) of the 40th senate district, which encompasses Pound Ridge and Lewisboro.
Known as hydrofracking or fracking, hydraulic fracturing is the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet into the earth to release and capture natural gas. There are currently plans before the state government to hydrofrack in the Adirondack Mountains. Supporters believe that hydrofracking would create hundreds of jobs and bring a much-needed boost to New Yorks cash-strapped economy. Opponents are concerned about the effects on the environment, public safety and long-term health risks of hydrofracking.
I want nothing more than to create jobs in New York, but I will not roll out the red carpet for companies that are not willing to be held accountable, said Ball who recently toured Pennsylvania communities where hydrofracking is actively taking place. I saw beautiful communities booming with economic activity. I also heard horror stories from families and farmers whove suffered health problems, lost livestock and seen a 90 percent devaluation of their homes and properties.
Dr. Jannette Barth, an economist and president of Pepacton Institute said that gas industry testified that gas companies claims that drilling in the Marcellus Shale would boost the states economy are misleading.
They ignore costs and exaggerate benefits, she said.
Craig Stevens, a landowner from Silver Lake, Pa., where fracking is currently permitted said that the town has suffered from contamination and pollution.
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Why are we continuing to drill in Pennsylvania when they haven't fixed the problems and contamination over the last four years? he said
Robert Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York said government officials need to consider the states long-health when considering hydrofracking. He said the state needs to develop more progressive rules and regulations and be able to provide responsible oversight before any drilling is approved.
Some of those who testified said that the long-term impact of hydrofracking wont be seen right away.
Many of the impacts to fish and wildlife wont be seen tomorrow, said Katy Dunlap of Trout Unlimited. Rather, the effects of this type of industrial scale gas drilling will be felt in the long-term. That is why it is critical that the state conduct a cumulative assessment of the impact on fish, wildlife and water resources, and determine what level of extra protection is needed in areas with high ecological and conservation value.
Ball said he plans to use the information gathered at the hearing to shape legislation and policies in Albany as it pertains to hydraulic fracturing.
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