A new comment period will begin in August and the state can start issuing permits as soon as the document is complete. Some organizations are planning for the worst, trying to stave off disaster by making sure there are some rules to govern the newest energy rush.
Riverkeeper, for instance, is working to ensure that the DEC does not start issuing permits for drilling before a set of regulations that specifically address fracking are in place.
It would certainly be insane to do otherwise. But those of us who live in New York City should not be smugly satisfied that our water will get special treatment.
The very fact that the city’s unfiltered water supply is being protected is an admission of the risks associated with the practice of fracking and we need to join the coalition of 47 health and environmental groups that has called for a statewide ban.
Other governments have already recognized the threat. France instituted a ban. Even New Jersey has done so. Now we must do it too.
The issue is bigger than just our drinking water. We find ourselves at the center of the existential question of how to get what we need from an earth that we have already gone too far in depleting.
We have reached a level of desperation so base in our addiction to energy that we have resorted to blasting shale to release “natural” gas in a way that is anything but natural. Like the line in front of a methadone clinic, we’re seeking to free ourselves from our addiction to oil with a substitute “drug,” but we should work on getting clean before we let our addiction divide and then kill us.
The Oscar-nominated film, Gasland, has revealed how fracking leads to contaminated soil, holes in atmospheric ozone and water that can ignite into flames (not to mention the destruction of farms, landscapes and communities).
And while the gas industry is pushing for more drilling in other parts of the state hoping it has at least taken care of naysayers in the city, recent efforts to strengthen connections to upstate land should make that a harder sell.