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Letter: With Care, Fracking Can Work in NY?

Response to January 11 Letter to Editor

Mr. Robert Catell, we the people of New York are educated and you can not pull the wool over our eyes. I know you have a vested interest in fracking as the drilling sites are operated by Energy Departments. I am just going to give the hard facts about fracking.

Fracking: Drilling for natural gas where chemicals and high-pressure water are used to fracture rock, releasing the gas.

It’s called hydraulic fracturing or fracking, and some herald it as the future of clean, safe energy from natural gas. But from Pennsylvania to West Virginia to Arkansas, residents are seeing earthquakes, poisoned watercourses and contaminated drinking water.

In 2007 a house in Ohio exploded from what state regulators determined was a buildup of methane bubbling up water pipes from wells polluted by drilling operations. Last April at least 10 cows died in Louisiana after drinking fracking chemicals collected at a drilling site operated by Chesapeake Energy. What’s in this stuff? Hydrochloric acid, solvents, surfactants, and petroleum based lubricants, basically the same carcinogenic chemicals found in household cleaners like Formula 409 and Drano. Feel like drinking Drano, anyone?

Geologists have made direct links between recent earthquakes and fracking. As the industry continues to expand, more earthquakes are expected. Injection wells act as jacks and split faults. Do we want an earthquake in Long Island? Manhattan? Anywhere?

Not only do these chemicals leak into surrounding lands, streams, wells, but vast amounts are so toxic, they contaminate whatever they come in contact with, especially as adequate wastewater disposal is not always available.

The industry has attempted to keep the identity of these chemicals secret or “proprietary,” making it difficult for individuals suffering health effects to even know exactly to which chemicals they have been exposed. It has been learned that in some instances, diesel has been used, although specifically prohibited.

It has been difficult to regulate fracking in part because, amazingly, the hydraulic fracturing industry in 2005 was exempted from compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and several other environmental laws. This exemption is known as the “Halliburton loophole” because former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has strong ties to Halliburton, added it to these laws. Can you spell big money anyone?

There are too many facts to mention. Please, everyone, investigate, go on the Internet, read all you can about fracking. It’s not good and it’s extremely dangerous and scary. We have us and our children’s future to worry about. Let’s not contaminate their drinking water and destroy our planet any more than it already has been.

Mary Goodfellow
Joseph Goodfellow
Mineola Resident