Don't Frack with New York

April 3, 2012
By lah1717 BRONZE, New York, New York
lah1717 BRONZE, New York, New York
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Fracking. No, it’s not a curse word, but it might as well be. Fracking, otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, is a method that gas companies have utilized across the country to extract natural gas for energy from the ground by use of a larger than life drill, and a lethal cocktail of toxic chemicals. Though an undeniably lucrative business that has the potential to supply the country with “all- American” gas, the effects of fracking on the environment are detrimental, and unassailable.

1.8 million gallons of water and 40,000 gallons of chemicals are needed to operate any given hydraulic fracturing well, and extract the coveted gas. Those chemicals are highly concerning. A lethal combination of chemicals and natural gas seep into the groundwater, contaminating clean water sources with a deadly mixture.

In Bradford County, Pennsylvania, a six-hour drive from New York City, fracking is prevalent. According to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in 2011 the Simons family filed a lawsuit claiming that their drinking water was “gray and hazy.” After the water became contaminated, the family members began developing blisters, nosebleeds, headaches, and other persistent ailments. The Simons family stopped using their grey tap water, yet it still omitted a “scummy, rotten, nasty smell.”

Other families in “fracking states” have reported similar tales of blackened water, contaminated with unsafe and illegal levels of methane, benzene, mercury, and selenium. Some have discovered that their water is so polluted that it lights on fire.

Fracking is not a faraway concept for residents of Westchester and the Hudson valley area. What happened in Pennsylvania could easily happen here. Legislation is now being considered in which fracking wells would be set up in the Catskills, the home of the largest unfiltered drinking water source. This could result in upwards of six million people drinking contaminated ground water, and being exposed to harmful chemicals and health effects.
Organizations such as Riverkeeper and NRDC have been working to combat fracking proposals in New York State, yet it is up to the masses to take a stand, and prevent fracking from affecting the health and environmental status of the state.
People must weigh the pros of fracking against the cons. Yes, there is money and jobs in the fracking industry. Yet, hydraulic fracturing poses long-term problems that people need to recognize: water contamination, health problems, increased risk of cancer, and depleted water resources. Residents of New York should take the risks into account, consider the results in Pennsylvania and avoid making a huge fracking mistake.

The author's comments:
This was an article published in my school newspaper.

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