The Cayuga Anti-Frack Alliance
“A statement we are reading to the Auburn city council meeting on April 14 and we are garnering a lot of support from Auburnains”
“We are here tonight to speak about the public notice and article that appeared in the March 31st edition of The Citizen. The public notice lists eight companies that failed to comply with the city’s wastewater treatment plant regulations. Six of those companies are natural gas drilling firms. The notice states that for all of 2010, many of these natural gas companies failed to submit quarterly self-monitoring reports. The city called their attention to it a year later.
The notice mentions that the companies submitted required certification that the drilling water did not come from hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, in the Marcellus Shale. Can we verify this? How do we know that this is the case apart from taking natural gas companies at their word? Is that all it is? A certificate submitted a year after the fact that the city’s plant did not take a radioactive toxic mix that no wastewater treatment plant is equipped to handle?
We have little faith in the integrity of the natural gas industry. According to a March 1 article in the New York times, in Pennsylvania natural gas drilling companies aren’t even required to track what they dispose or where they dispose their wastewater. Chesapeake Energy, one of the companies listed in the public notice for failure to comply, is hydrofracking in Pennsylvania, and who knows what they are transporting up here to our plant. We have watched as natural gas executives blatantly lied to a congressional committee that the chemicals used in hydrofracking are safe. Chemicals like benzene, toulene, methanol, formaldehyde–known carcinogens and neurotoxins.
The natural gas industry says there is no evidence that hydrofracking has contaminated drinking water while people in Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and other states can now light their tap water on fire and suffer from severe health issues.
Bluntly put, the natural gas industry has no incentive to tell the truth. They are free from federal and state laws that protect public health and prevent hazardous materials from entering public water. They do not have to disclose what chemicals they use; the burden of proof falls on residents that natural-gas drilling has poisoned their water rather than the other way around. Natural gas companies rarely get fined and when they do, it is a drop in the bucket. We either should be charging an exorbitant price to take in this water so we can hire the staff to monitor around the clock. Or we should refuse to take it.
We support saying no because it will never be enough money. If we contaminate the water, it will never be enough money.
This is the single most serious environmental issue facing our area. Hydrofracking is exempt from the federal clean water and drinking water acts. These companies have been given the go-ahead from our government to polllute. The agencies in charge of protecting the people like the EPA and DEC are either understaffed or staffed with those friendly to the industry. We are pretty much powerless, but what we can do is say no.
We are residents of this city. That plant is as much ours as it is yours. The water belongs to all of us. We say no more.”