Sixty miles west of Damascus, the town of Dimock, population 1,400, makes all too clear the dangers posed by hydraulic fracturing. You don’t need to drive around Dimock long to notice how the rolling hills and farmland of this Appalachian town are scarred by barren, square-shaped clearings, jagged, newly constructed roads with 18-wheelers driving up and down them, and colorful freight containers labeled “residual waste.” Although there is a moratorium on drilling new wells for the time being, you can still see the occasional active drill site, manned by figures in hazmat suits and surrounded by klieg lights, trailers, and pits of toxic wastewater, the derricks towering over barns, horses, and cows in their shadows.
Protect New York State drinking water from unsafe gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The hydrofracking process endangers drinking water supplies, uses billions of gallons of drinking water in the process and creates contaminated water that cannot be properly treated. In New York State, Governor Paterson needs to ban unsafe gas drilling in order to protect our drinking water supply. Safer methods are being developed that are well worth waiting for.
“Water is the first law of life. We cannot live without water. Over 1/4 of the world’s potable water is right here [in the Great Lakes watershed] and [hydrofracking is] in danger of damaging it severely,” stated Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons. “This decision is a moral decision,” Cayuga HETF representative Dan Hill admonished the regulators.
Given the threats to our communities from major corporations anxious to extract gas which is tightly-embedded in the Marcellus Shale, learning how we can take back of our communities and safeguard our water and other precious resources is more important than ever. Democracy School teaches us skills and principles that help us protect and restore the rights of local communities to “the commons,” essentials for life which extend beyond private property: clean water, clean air, a safe and healthy ecosystem, and a viable economy for ALL people (not just for the far-away executives of multinational corporations).
Democracy School for the Southern Tier presents:
The Daniel Pennock DEMOCRACY SCHOOL
The New York-based Toxics Targeting went through the Department of Environmental Conservation’s own database of hazardous substances spills over the past thirty years. They found 270 cases documenting fires, explosions, wastewater spills, well contamination and ecological damage related to gas drilling. Many of the cases remain unresolved. The findings are contrary to repeated government assurances that existing natural gas well regulations are sufficient to safeguard the environment and public health. The state is considering allowing for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale watershed, the source of drinking water for 15 million people, including nine million New Yorkers. Guest: Walter Hang, President of Toxics Targeting, an environmental database firm in Ithaca, New York. (More at Democracy Now)
Walter Hang writes:
I just posted data at www.toxicstargeting.com for 270 oil and gas spill spills in New York State that have caused fires, explosions, home evacuations, polluted drinking water wells as well as long-term impacts on forests, streams, wetlands, ponds and other waterways.
I believe these findings destroy the myth that the Department of Environmental Conservation’s current oil and gas regulations are adequate to safeguard the environment and public health. For that reason, I am asking Governor Paterson to withdraw the dSGEIS.
As New York gears up for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: It’s radioactive. And they have yet to say how they’ll deal with it. The information comes from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink. (Read more)