Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hinckley

From a photo caption in Trout Unlimited's report Tapped Out: New York's Water Woes:

Hinckley Reservoir, Hinckley, NY


The report goes on to say:

In a process called hydraulic fracturing, anywhere from 2 to 5 million gallons of fresh water are pumped into each well, extending a fracture in the shale, such that the gas can be recovered in greater quantities and at a higher rate. Environmental concerns from the drilling operation are numerous, including the effects of the massive water withdrawals on area streams and wetlands. Some withdrawals in New York will be regulated by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) — a multistate commission comprised of officials from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland — for withdrawals over 100,000 gallons per day out of the Susquehanna watershed. The Susquehanna watershed includes the south-central portion of New York, however, does not cover New York’s entire Marcellus Shale formation that extends west and east of the Susquehanna watershed. Some of the proposed wells in New York, outside the authority of the SRBC, are located in delicate headwater areas, and operations will continue through typically low streamflow months in late summer and early autumn. The current laws and regulations in New York do not adequately protect these streams from these massive withdrawals, and notably do not allow for proper review of the cumulative impacts of multiple wells. 


As the anti-fracking rally approaches this weekend in Washington, D.C., it's difficult not to be reminded of that other Hinkley, the one without the c, the one that anchored a movie and made the issue of water quality interesting.


The more I think about how many law suits are not being brought in the name (against the name?) of high-volume hydrofracking, the more I think the whole process is still in what might be termed "the experimental phase."  Really: wouldn't a responsible state government want at least several years' of testing, monitoring, sampling, before opening its arms (Tom Wolfe would say its legs) to the IOGA of NY and all of its global friends?

Can't we turn on the lights without these people sinking their jaws into the Southern Tier?

Statement to ponder, from Mark Z. Jacobson, director of Stanford University's Atmosphere/Energy program and  a professor of civil and environmental engineering: "Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources. It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will."


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