You have probably seen or heard advertisements for a “clean” natural gas recently. An industrial boom in the drilling of natural gas has been brought about over the past several years using a new industrial technology developed by Halliburton and others called hydrofracking and horizontal drilling. Political pressure has been used to exempt this new drilling process from important sections of the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and compensation laws among others.
The process itself was first introduced into western states, such as Wyoming, and in the Barnett Shale in Texas. In the past three years the industry began using the new process to extract gas in the Marcellus Shale which runs through West Virginia, Pennsylvania and southern New York.
Currently a moratorium imposed by former New York Governor Patterson prevents the new horizontal drilling technique from being used, pending development of regulations by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. The national Sierra Club states that it will only support this new technology if it can be proven safe.
The scientific facts concerning this new technology show many serious public health and water and air quality issues.
The industry itself has been shown to be subject to a boom-bust economy of fossil fuel extraction. Currently the costs of natural gas have dropped from approximately $15.00 per unit to $4.00 per unit due to the new technology in answer to horizontal drilling for natural gas.
Our nation and our future generations are at serious risk due to lobbyists, political contributions, and massive propaganda by fossil fuel giants such as Exxon Mobil. Hydrofracking and horizontal drilling drives out many other productive industries, destroys the economic quality of life, and turn areas into industrial zones. The economies of drilled areas are subject to boom-bust economy of fossil fuels.
Sierra Club is strongly urging New York State legislation to develop renewable and clean energy sources. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are being added to economies such as Germany, Denmark, Ontario, Canada and California from renewable energy development. Energy conservation is also a huge industry which we are ignoring at our peril.
Check our Hydrofracking page for more information concerning the issues discussed above, as well as the New York Atlantic Sierra Club Chapter. Write to Governor Cuomo online and urge him to continue a moratorium. Contact your State Assemblypersons and Senators and ask them to enact legislation to permit the development of renewable energy sources. Requiring utility companies to purchase energy produced by renewable sources at rates which can be adjusted annually will stabilize energy prices and permit the investment in renewables which is sorely needed. The introduction of renewables in other countries and states actually reduced energy costs in the long run by eliminating politically motivated and speculative spikes in energy such as our recent surge in gasoline prices.