The View From West Davenport
Before getting into what is likely to be a controversial discussion, let’s take a minute to talk about fracking – correctly called hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking is a process by which water, sand, and chemicals are injected underground at high pressures to crack open rock formations consisting largely of sand grains that are very tightly packed together, i.e. they have tiny interstitial spaces which are filled with tightly held natural gas.
The idea behind this practice is to create fissures into which that trapped gas will “flow” and then be transported to the surface where it can be gathered into pipelines and transported to customers who burn the gas to produce electricity, heat homes and cook food.
Following a bogus claim that the practice caused water coming from a faucet in Dimock, Pa., to burn when lit, opposition mounted. Activists deliberately misled the public about why the water burned – the water well had been drilled into a pocket of natural gas associated with a coal formation. As you well know, Pennsylvania has abundant coal formations. What you might not know is:
The same thing has happened in the Town of Maryland, without any drilling or fracking.
Opposition mounted and many towns were visited by lawyers claiming they would help the towns draft moratoria preventing fracking. What they didn’t tell the towns is they were being paid by a foundation opposed to fracking. Paid activists were sent out to build opposition to fracking. How do I know that – because I was approached by one in Greene, Chenango County, who admitted she was a paid activist.
Governor Patterson, lobbied by groups opposed to fracking, put a temporary moratorium in place in 2008.
In 2011, Governor Cuomo, who has gone back and forth on the issue, “asked” DEC to do another study and the agency concluded that fracking could be done safely, and the Administration initially began crafting regulations for the practice.