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Can Fracking Cause Earthquakes in NY?


Time Magazine calls hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the biggest environmental issue of 2011 in the U.S., but in 2012 it could be even bigger, especially right here in New York State, affecting our  drinking water supplies. (See our previous coverage.)

Back in September, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a revised report evaluating the potential risks of hydraulic fracturing from the Marcellus Shale. This latest draft report is deeply flawed, according to several environmental groups. And the latest headlines suggest fracking maybe causing some weird earthquakes in places that never had them before.

Here’s what the DEC’s draft report does NOT include, according to experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

  •  There is no assessment of possible harm to our water, air, forests and health from full-scale gas development.
  • There is no plan to deal with contaminated, potentially radioactive drilling waste water — which would astoundingly be classified as “non-hazardous” waste.
  • There is no assessment of risks from pipelines, waste water treatment facilities and other infrastructure that would necessarily accompany new fracking.

Through Jan. 11, the DEC  is accepting comments from the public on the draft report before the state finalizes it. For concerned citizens, the DEC provides an online  public comment form, which is easy to use. You can also submit comments on paper mailed or delivered to: Attn: dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6510. Please include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter.

image: Bosc D’anjou

Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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