New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is sueing the federal government after failing to conduct a full environmental review on the potential dangers of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. The debate continues to escalate amidst growing protests from politicians, New Yorkers, and environmental groups, after recent studies indicate that not only is fracking devastating to the environment, but it’s close proximity to the drinking water reservoirs might have adverse health effects and hazards on New York City and the surrounding areas.
The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn, states that the Delaware River Basin Commission, with full approval by federal agencies, proposed regulations on fracking without conducting a full review on the possible effects on the environment. The review is required in accordance to the National Environmental Policy Act(NEPA).
The controversy mainly centers around the fact that extracting gas in the Marcellus Shale region through fracking, uses huge volumes of water laced with chemicals and sand, and are being pumped by drillers into a well bore, in order to fracture surrounding shale that releases the gas. This has the potential of affecting the drinking water of up to 15 million people in the area, including Philadelphia and New York City.
Schneiderman believes that because the commission drafted regulations without doing a full environmental review, current fracking regulations must be halted until the commission complies with the National Environmental Policy Act . The Huffington Post reports that “before the public comment period on the commission’s draft regulations ended, environmentalists said they delivered 30,000 comments opposing natural gas drilling in the watershed.”
Awareness surrounding these issues are slowly starting to spread, especially with the release of Gasland, a new movie concerning some of the dangers of fracking. But despite these protests, organizations such as the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance have accused environmentalists of trying to cause delay in the hopes that drilling companies will go away.
“There is no information that isn’t out there already that they are going to get with this study,” said Peter Wynee, spokesperson for the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, in a report by the Huffington Post. “All they’re going to come up with is a vast collection of generalizations that are already available. It’s a colossal time-waste.”
In light of the huge opposition fracking is receiving from local residents, its good to see that politicians are also stepping. While harvesting natural gas is certainly good for the country in order to reduce independence on foreign oil, it should not be done with questionable methods that raise concern and opposition from the various studies, and the public in general.
Via: The Huffington Post