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Apprehension of hydraulic fracturing (“hydro-fracking” or “fracking”) has been expressed to New York State Assembly for awhile now by environmental groups, political figures and concerned citizens. It had been reported in at least three other states that hydro-fracking was the cause of contaminated drinking water. New Yorkers, who often boast of having some of the cleanest and safest drinking water sources in the country, have been fighting for a the state assembly to pass a bill stopping, or at least pausing, hydro-fracking in their state.
According to our friends at the Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment (CCFE), hydro-fracking is “a process of fracturing rock in order to release the natural gas from isolated veins within the shale formation.” The concern is that, “Volumes of toxic, caustic, and potentially radioactive liquid waste byproducts are created in the hydro-fracking process, with no real plan for safe treatment and disposal,” making numerous New York communities drinking water vulnerable to these toxins.
EarthShare New York members such as Riverkeeper, Environmental Advocates of New York and CCFE have been encouraging the fight against fracking in New York state since this past spring. Finally, there has been success in the passing of bill A. 11443B, which “places a timeout on hydraulic fracturing… for natural gas by suspending the issuance of permits to fracture wells in New York State until May 15, 2011,” says Riverkeeper’s most recent press release.
Although does not yet secure the future for clean drinking water in New York, it is a huge step for our communities. EANY’s press statement on the bill passing contains an important quote from Kate Sinding, he Deputy Director of the New York Urban Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, another one of EarthShare New York’s members. Ms. Sinding explains, “New York has shown the country that Americans have a right to stand up to big oil and gas companies.” This is yet another open door to the long road ahead of fighting back to improve state policies concerning the health of our communities citizens and environment.
To learn more about hydro-fracking, and bill A. 11443B, and fight out what you can do to help read some of our member’s statements on the issue (below).