To say that local League of Women Voters President Beth Radow is passionate about educating people about the dangers of fracking is beyond understatement.
“It’s the biggest environmental issue in this state in our lifetime,” she told a packed room at the Mamaroneck Public Library Tuesday night. For two hours, she led a discussion on the complex and multi-faceted issue of Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking.
(Trailer for the film Gasland, part of which was seen last night, is below)
With a December 12 deadline for public comment on New York State draft regulations for hydraulic fracking in the areas above Marcellus Shale, opponents are on a fast track to have their views documented by the Governor’s office.
Al Appleton, former Department of Environmental Commissioner for New York City explained how this controversial drilling method involves injecting, horizontally, a mixture of water and a host of chemicals deep into the Earth’s surface in order to extract natural gas.
“These chemicals have long and unpleasant names which (the gas companies) can custom design….Chemicals without toxins cannot frack.”
The result, Appleton and Radow maintain, will pollute our drinking water, increase our tax base, and potentially take away mortgage and land rights of those upon whose land wells are drilled.
Since New York State passed a ban on fracking three years ago, fracking has become big news. One poll shows nearly half of New Yorkers are watching the issue, and a slightly higher percentage of voters are more inclined to trust fracking’s opponents than thos that champion it as a solution to oil dependence on the Mideast.
Says Appleton, government and industry want to spend “$500 Billion to $1 Trillion” to develop up to 120,000 gas wells on the New York landscape.
“Why not spend this on developing green energy?” he asked.
One member of the audience voiced his view that this was a “one sided presentation,” and that representatives of the gas companies, such as Exxon should have been invited.
“I’ve been thinking about this issue for many years, ” Appleton responded. “And I just can’t see a single economic or environmental reason to support it.”