Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Are Hearings on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”) Held In New York A NATIONAL Issue?

(Above, evening hearing attendees in the 900 seat auditorium)
Last week I presented Noticing New York and National Notice testimony when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation held a day’s worth of hearings in Manhattan concerning Governor Cuomo's proposal to start allowing High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing, aka “Fracking,” in the state for the first time by lifting the current moratorium under which it is now effectively banned. An account of the hearings, the testimony I provided and amplification for my testimony is available here: Thursday, December 1, 2011, Wednesday’s Department of Environmental Conservation Hearings on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”): Noticing New York’s Testimony Plus. .

A shorter article providing, for pith’s sake, just the testimony I delivered that day is available here: Thursday, December 7, 2011, Testimony at Department of Environmental Conservation’s 11/30 Hearings on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”): The LONG and the SHORT of It.

(People lined up after me Wednesday morning to get into DEC's first hearing, the afternoon hearing on introducing the new technology of fracking to New York state.)
Why are such hearings held locally in New York a national issue on which National Notice readers would want to focus? Because:
• The brand new technology of fracking, which involves injecting huge quantities of poisonous “hyperslick water” into the earth at enormous pressure in combination with underground explosions, is associated with an enormous amount and a great variety of pollution that travels across multiple state lines, particularly flowing down through river basins and blowing through the air, thereby involving many states, and is likely to pollute, in toto, much of the country’s natural resources.

• By seeking to target a win in the very heart of the opposition, the fracking industry is seeking to hijack New York State’s history as a leader in protecting its environment. As I point out in the longer article linked to above, if the industry can sell its despoliation and overturn environmental protections in New York it can, by “spreadin’ the news,” parlay that into a sales pitch for fracking anywhere else in the country. A sort of “New York, New York” refrain mentality: “If I can frack it there, I'll frack it anywhere, It's up to you, New York, New York.” Conversely, as also discussed in that linked-to article, the industry is attempting to use experiences since 2007 in North Dakota (population 640,000) and New York's neighboring Pennsylvania in order to stage manage a super-hyped sale of fracking in New York.- - In fact, as you can read, what the industry is trying to promote in New York is the idea of “unregulated or lightly regulated fracking” as if any kind of fracking at all isn’t enough to ensure disaster.

• The attempt to get fracking introduced in New York is being pressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a man recognized to have presidential ambitions likely viewing this as fulfilling a cherished goal his father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, fell short of. Andrew Cuomo’s tactics to force the introduction of fracking in New York bespeak some sort of behind-the-scenes political deal which falls in line with an observation that is more and more being offered about Mr. Cuomo: That whatever people may commend him for in terms of his effectiveness, he operates without transparency, and in this case without regard to the true needs of the voters who are properly his elective constituency.

• And then, of course there is the whole giant planet-affecting issue to which all the rest of this is integral: How many years do we have left to forestall pushing beyond a disastrous climate change tipping point?
So you may want to read and find out exactly how matters with respect to those “local” New York hearings are playing out.

(Hazmat suited protester. The first thing many saw approaching the hearing location)

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