The issue of hydro fracking has taken center stage in Albany, with Senate Democrats holding a hearing on the issue last week, with discussion continuing this week.
During testimony last week, lawmakers heard testimony from environmentalists who say the lack of a health assessment for high-volume hydraulic fracturing by the state Department of Environmental Conservation indicates the state is not ready to approve the controversial process of drilling for natural gas.
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a water, sand and chemical mixture underground to split up bedrock containing natural gas. Opponents of the process say it could contaminate groundwater, pollute air, expose radioactive rock layers or cause earthquakes. Proponents say it would create jobs and boost the state’s economy.
Josh Fox, who is the director and star of “Gasland” – a documentary investigating the impact of hydraulic fracturing across America – testified and said he is concerned the DEC will attempt to rush through the thousands of letters and public comments sent to them addressing the proposed fracking regulations. He’s also stated that wherever the gas industry operates, groundwater is contaminated.
Other groups that have come out against hydrolic fracking are the Food & Water Watch’s New York chapter, the New York League of Women Voters, the Tompkins County Legislature and officials from the town of Otsego – both of which have banned hydraulic fracturing.