Points of View
Let’s keep New York’s food frack free
By Hilary Baum and Eric Weltman
New York’s farmers, cooks and eaters alike know the connection between good water and good food. Our unique, unfiltered upstate water supply is the secret to the city’s justly famous classic bagels and pizza. And it’s tasty to drink, too: More than 8 million city residents rely on this high-quality tap water, which can stand up to anything in a plastic bottle.
Of course, clean water is vital for sustaining everything from apple orchards and vineyards to dairy and livestock farms and breweries. And without copious supplies of clean water, food processors, restaurants and home cooks would be at a loss.
This is one reason why Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to open New York to hydrofracking (“fracking”) for natural gas is so obscene to those who care about food — those who produce it, prepare it and simply savor it.
While the oil and gas industry is salivating at the prospect of short-term profits, there’s a large group of New Yorkers who should flat out reject fracking: people who eat.
Here’s the 101 on this dastardly practice. Fracking means blasting millions of gallons of fresh water, sand and toxic chemicals deep underground to break up rock formations that hold natural gas. Much of this toxic fracking fluid flows back up out of the well, bringing with it toxic metals and potentially high levels of radioactive material from deep below ground. More than 80 percent of this toxic wastewater remains underground indefinitely, posing long-term risks to drinking water supplies.
Oil and gas executives are eager to profit from fracking the Marcellus and Utica shale formations that underlie large regions of upstate New York, an area where apple orchards and dairy farms dot the scenic landscape, and evermore breweries, vineyards and cheese makers are adding value to New York’s rural economy.
This is why farmers, chefs, brewers, and vintners are joining forces with public health, consumer and environmental organizations —not to mention anyone who likes to eat food or drink water — to keep fracking out of New York and spare our state’s prized watersheds and family farms from suffering.
KeywordsHilary Baum, Eric Weltman, hydro-fracking, water, food, Andrew Cuomo, Chefs for the Marcellus, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Slow Food NYC, Brooklyn Food Coalition, Food & Water Watch