Fracking: A Clean Water Controversy
Today in Livingston County and in many parts of the United States, the process of Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking,” is causing a massive controversial debate. Have you heard about it?
Perhaps a harder question would be: Do you know what fracking is?
In other words, could you explain how fracking works to a family member or friend?
To Frack or Not to Frack?!
The fracking debate in New York State centers on the potential economic and environmental impacts of fracking the Marcellus Shale formation. Those that support fracking in New York State view it as an excellent opportunity to bring economic growth and greater job opportunities. Today, the natural gas industry supplies about 24% of the United States’ energy. This is quite a significant amount! Natural gas is in high demand and can be used to power our homes, cars , and neighborhoods.
Those that oppose fracking feel that the potential economic benefits of natural gas extraction do not outweigh the potential environmental damages. In places like northern Pennsylvania, where the fracturing of the Marcellus Shale formation is already taking place, there is strong evidence that fracking is linked to contaminated water supplies. Take a look at this video of a CBS News Report from 2012…
In December 2014, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo placed a moratorium, or temporary ban, on fracking in New York State. The governor stood by his decision stating that the uncertainty of fracking's impact on drinking water and the potential health risks associated with contaminated drinking water were key reasons for placing the moratorium. This decision has been met by both positive and negative responses.
It is also very important to note that the statewide moratorium on fracking is a reality today largely because many towns (including the majority of towns in Livingston County) previously placed their own moratoriums on fracking, effectively stopping natural gas companies from drilling in those places. This shows that active citizens and local governments can make a powerful team!
Click the New York State map to see what actions local governments and their townspeople are taking regarding fracking.