Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What is Hydrofracking and How Could It Stop Us From Drinking Our Water by Senator Joe Addabbo...

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What is hydrofracking and how could it affect our drinking water even though it takes place over one hundred miles away? I asked myself that same question until a constituent, Brian Dooley, President of the Glendale Property Owners Association, educated me about the process. New York City has some of the cleanest, safest and most reliable drinking water in the country. However, the safety of our drinking water is in danger. Our drinking water is being put in jeopardy by big business oil companies who want to drill for natural gas dangerously close to New York City’s upstate watershed using a process known as hydraulic fracturing, also called hydrofracking.

This drilling process uses toxic chemicals under high pressure in water to break up rock formations deep underground releasing the natural gas. The targeted material for this natural gas drilling runs through approximately eight states including Pennsylvania and upstate New York and is known as the Marcellus Shale. The hydrofracking drilling method requires millions of gallons of water that the United States Department of Energy considers one of the most toxic industrial byproducts produced by gas and oil drilling.[1] Let me be clear, I am not against drilling, but I am totally against a process that certainly has questionable ingredients that should not be in our water. Recently, I met with Josh Fox, writer and director of the movie Gasland, to discuss this issue and my education and concerns about hydrofracking grew.

The danger of hydraulic fracturing so close to the New York City watershed is easy to imagine. Toxic byproduct can seep into our drinking water and turn our once pristine water into a severe health risk. According to a report prepared by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, entitled Uncalculated Risk, seven states across the country have experienced serious incidents of water contamination and explosions near hydraulic fracturing mines.

Imagine not being able to use your water for fear of drinking carcinogens, plastics, and toxins.

To protect our drinking water I have introduced and sponsored legislation to place a one year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State. We need time to fully understand a report currently being prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing and its possible affects on the New York City watershed. The unknown, long term affects of the components of hydrofracking could be dangerous, if not fatal. Why take a chance with our precious drinking water. We should be certain that New York City’s water supply will not be damaged.

The risks are simply too high to just recklessly move forward with hydraulic fracturing. Over eight million people in New York City rely on clean safe unfiltered surface water collected in the watershed. We cannot put the health of New York City residents at risk. The harm to our city’s and state’s infrastructure, economy, and most importantly public trust far outweigh any benefits of moving forward immediately with hydrofracking.

In the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf we have seen firsthand the effects of ignoring common sense safety measures. While I know that upstate landowners stand to make huge amounts of money from the gas companies as they lease their land to allow the drilling and that the process creates jobs, I believe it is irresponsible and dangerous to permit drilling so near our water supply without taking the time to fully understand its ramifications.

Please go to my website here  to sign the petition supporting my legislation calling for a one year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Together we can protect our drinking water. 


For additional ways to protect our City’s drinking water please call Senator Aaaabbo's  office at 718-738-1111 or 718-497-1630 or email