by Kimberlie Birks
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to decide soon whether to allow natural gas companies to use the controversial drilling technique known as hydro-fracking. New Yorkers are sharply divided on the issue. Prodevelopment groups say that New York’s rust belt—the area that stretches west from Albany along the Pennsylvania border—needs new industry and new jobs. Meanwhile environmentalists vehemently oppose injecting the earth with the cocktail of hundreds of unknown chemicals, that could contaminate vital water supplies.
As Sean Lennon stated in his eloquent OpEd in Monday’s New York Times:
“New York is lucky enough to have some of the best drinking water in the world. The well water on my family’s farm comes from the same watersheds that supply all the reservoirs in New York State. That means if our tap water gets dirty, so does New York City’s.
Gas produced this way is not climate-friendly. Within the first 20 years, methane escaping from within and around the wells, pipelines and compressor stations is 105 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. With more than a tiny amount of methane leakage, this gas is as bad as coal is for the climate; and since over half the wells leak eventually, it is not a small amount. Even more important, shale gas contains one of the earth’s largest carbon reserves, many times more than our atmosphere can absorb. Burning more than a small fraction of it will render the climate unlivable, raise the price of food and make coastlines unstable for generations.
Few people are aware that America’s Natural Gas Alliance has spent $80 million in a publicity campaign that includes the services of Hill and Knowlton — the public relations firm that through most of the ’50s and ’60s told America that tobacco had no verifiable links to cancer. Natural gas is clean, and cigarettes are healthy — talk about disinformation.”
Definitely worth checking out.