It has been nearly a year since the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state health commissioner would conduct a review to determine whether hydrofracking could be done safely in New York. Since then, little information has been released on the ongoing study.
President Obama is planning on visiting upstate New York this week to promote an education plan. But whenever a major politician visits the region, the issue of fracking is often on the agenda, whether they like it or not.
Monday night brought the TV premiere of Gasland II, a sequel to the original anti-hydrofracking movie. In New York, where Governor Cuomo’s decision on fracking is still on hold, both opponents and supporters of fracking say the films have helped frame the debate.
Governor Cuomo says he supports his Administration’s internal health review on hydrofracking in New York, and he says it could even hasten the gas drilling process in the state, should fracking ultimately be approved.
The governor says he supports his environmental commissioner’s decision not to launch an independent health study, and to instead have the administration’s health department review new health assessment data compiled by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Protestors against the introduction of hydrofracking in Western New York gathered in Niagara Square on Saturday.
The protest followed a symposium held by the Buffalo Association of Professional Geologists at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Many at the symposium proposed that hydraulic fracturing could be an economic boon for the region if done properly. Opponents claim that the environmental concerns are too significant to bring the controversial practice to Western New York, and they are lobbying for a permanent ban on fracking.
The natural gas industry sees hopeful signs in a new poll that finds more New Yorkers now support hydrofracking.
A Quinnipiac University survey also finds upstaters, who live where the gas drilling process would occur, back fracking in greater numbers.
The Quinnipiac poll finds that by a narrow four point margin, New Yorkers surveyed believe that the economic benefits of natural gas drilling, including job creation, outweigh the potential harmful environmental effects. Quinnipiac’s Mickey Carroll says opinion is still somewhat evenly divided.
Weeks after its founding, the Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) released a study that hydrofracking opponents called flawed and biased toward the natural gas industry. Above, a hydrofracked well and drilling pad in Pennsylvania.
Credit Courtesy photo / via srsi.buffalo.edu
Initially advertised as "peer reviewed," SRSI's study has since been stripped of that label by SUNY Buffalo administration.
Credit Courtesy photo / via srsi.buffalo.edu
SRSI needs over $1 million in the next three years to fund its plans for research, classes and overhead. The institute will accept funding from the oil and gas industry, among others.
Credit Matt Richmond / WSKG
SRSI's study determined that state oversight and regulations reduced the instance of problems associated with hydrofracked wells (above). But critics have questioned those assertions.
The newly-founded SUNY Buffalo institute issued a study which found a decline in accidents and environmental damage caused by hydrofracking – a drilling technique using high volumes of water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale far below the Earth’s surface.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says there is no timetable for making a final decision that would allow hydro-fracturing in New York.
Cuomo has been keeping activists from both sides of the fracking issue in suspense. Environmentalists are seeking a ban on the controversial procedure. Drillers want to go ahead with fracking -- a process that uses large amounts of water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale.
The Governor addressed the issue with reporters Wednesday during a break in a policy conference he was attending in New York City.
The contentious issue of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, in New York State continues to divide residents.
A recent Siena College poll shows likely voters are evenly divided on whether they want fracking allowed in the state: 39 percent support it, 38 percent are opposed, while 23 percent either have no opinion or don't have enough information.
"You also have to look at this from a regional perspective," said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.
Governor Andrew Cuomo offered some support to a plan to permit hydrofracking in New York in communities that welcome the gas drilling process.
Numerous sources and published reports have said that the Cuomo Administration may permit hydrofracking in some communities in New York’s Southern Tier where the majority of residents want natural gas drilling .
Communities that are mainly opposed to fracking would not be forced to accept drilling.
The University at Buffalo is distancing itself from a controversial hydrofracking report recently released by one of the school's affiliates.
The Shale Resources and Society Institute was formed at the school this year as a source for credible information and research regarding shale gas. It's first report, indicating an improvement in the environmental effects of hydrofracking, has been harshly criticized by being funded and directed by industry interests. Other studies show the Institute's results to be false.
A University at Buffalo Shale Institute study of hydrofracking will no doubt raise eyebrows, especially in those organizations that have been most outspoken against the controversial method of extracting natural gas.
The study, which its co-authors say was funded entirely by UB, looked at the environmental impacts during Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania from January 2008 to August 2011.
About a dozen representatives of Citizen Action, The Sierra Club, and several other public advocacy groups gathered in front of the Mahoney State Office Building in downtown Buffalo Monday to reiterate their strong opposition to hydrofracking in New York.
Speakers said the natural gas industry holds far too much sway over local and state politicians with their campaign contributions. They said as a result, leaders are turning a deaf ear to the concerns of health and environmental advocates who contend that fracking ruins the groundwater supply.
State Senator Mark Grisanti unveiled a package of bills today that he says will protect the environment should hydraulic fracturing of natural gas move forward in New York.
At a news conference in downtown Buffalo Friday, Grisanti said his bills would prohibit public sewage treatment plants from accepting wastewater from hydrofracking and would set up a system so that the public could easily access information about the location of gas wells.
Mention the word "hydrofracking" and you could spark some heated debate on whether New York State should allow the method by which natural gas is being pulled from the Marcellus Shale. Tuesday morning in Buffalo, supporters of the practice stated their case in a panel discussion.
The forum was made up mostly of supporters for hydrofracking. Opponents, who did not take part, claim that the procedure of using liquid to fracture shale beneath the surface to loosen and extract natural gas could also adversely affect water and air quality.