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Natural Gas Production- At What Cost to NYS?

We all know that New York State is fortunate to have an excellent supply of fresh water, from Lake Ontario to the Finger Lakes and many rivers and streams. But how many of us know that we also have a rich supply of natural gas in the Southern Tier of New York, in what geologists call the Marcellus Shale layer?
Even though oil companies have been extracting this natural gas for the last 100 years, most of it was inaccessible until the recent combination of two new techniques: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. By using these techniques together, the oil companies are confident that they can extract this natural gas and use it to heat people’s homes and cook their food in the Eastern United States. But before we do this, we should consider the following:
  1. Approximately 1 million gallons of water are forced deep into the ground each time a well is fractured, and there may be hundreds of wells;
  2. Many compounds, some of them very toxic, are used to help fracture a well; these could leak out and contaminate ground or surface water;
  3. Fracturing produces huge quantities of contaminated waste water; even if sewage treatment is available locally, our sewage treatment plants currently have neither the technology nor the capacity to treat this hazardous waste.
  4. In addition to our water supply, there will be impacts on roads, traffic patterns, noise levels, aesthetics, and air quality (including emissions from trucks, drilling equipment, compressors, and test burn-offs).
  5. Local business, such as farming, wineries, fishing, real estate and tourism, depend upon our excellent quality of water, air, and soil, as well as the beautiful landscapes of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.
Join us on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 from 7-9PM in the Brighton Town Hall Downstairs Meeting Room to discuss with experts the impacts of drilling for natural gas in New York State and determine what actions citizens should take to protect our environment in the process. For more information, see www.fmce.org or call 392-4918.