fracking

New Yorkers Against Fracking

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.

The New York State Assembly voted by 95 to 40 Wednesday to ban hydrofracking in New York for at least another two years.

Dueling pro and anti fracking filmmakers held screenings and promotions for their films, as they await a decision by Governor Cuomo on whether fracking will go forward in New York. That could come by the end of the month.  As Karen DeWitt reports, at one point in the day ,  the two sides confronted each other in the halls of the Capitol.

Phelim McAleer is the creator of Fracknation, a film that claims to rebut charges made by environmentalists and  the popular anti fracking movie “Gasland”. He came to Albany to hold a screening of his film.

WBFO News photo by Karen DeWitt

Anti-fracking activists, including Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, attempted to present the state’s environmental agency with over 200,000 comments, on the last day of a public comment period on the gas drilling process.  They also, along with other anti fracking activists, tried to deliver a letter to Governor Cuomo.

A document from Governor Cuomo’s Administration assessing the health impacts of hydro fracking, written several months ago, says the gas drilling process is likely safe if proper precautions are taken by the governor’s environmental agency. 

WBFO File Photo / WBFO News

An in-depth review of the health effects of hydrofracking could be completed by Monday.

UB closes controversial shale institute

Nov 19, 2012

The University at Buffalo has announced that it is shutting down its Shale Resources and Society Institute, effective immediately.  UB President Satish Tripathi announced the decision Monday afternoon, following an internal assessment. 

The state’s environmental commissioner for the first time commented in depth about a new health review that has once again delayed a decision on hydro-fracking in New York.

But Commissioner Joe Martens says there are still some unanswered questions.

Commissioner Martens comments are the first after a tersely worded two paragraph statement issued in late September .

It said the State’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, would conduct a review of health impact data compiled by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

A group of public health experts are questioning whether Governor Cuomo’s health officials can do a credible job reviewing a health study on fracking, saying independent reviewers would be a better choice.

Governor Cuomo’s Health Commissioner is conducting a health impact review on whether hydro fracking can be done safely in New York.

With a campus controversy about natural gas fracking, the University at Buffalo is taking a look at the way it reports donations from industry for research.

The issue at UB revolves around the Shale Research Institute run by faculty of the Geology Department.

WBFO News file photo

The Cuomo Administration has announced two developments that could delay the start of hydraulic fracturing in New York, and is leaving supporters and opponents with many unanswered questions.

In the past ten days, Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation has taken two significant steps that are likely to push off any permits for natural gas drilling into at least the New Year.  

Matt Richmond / WSKG

Shortly after opening its doors at this spring, the Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) ignited a controversy that persists several months later.

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.

Opponents call the study flawed and biased in favor of the oil and gas industry.

The dispute attracted national attention, especially in the higher education community

Daniel Robison / WBFO

A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows New York residents are evenly split on the issue of hydrofracking.

The survey comes hard on the heels of a new pro-fracking public relations effort in upstate communities.

Supporters and opponents of a plan to allow limited hydrofracking in New York’s Southern Tier region confronted each other at the state Capitol .For months, the Cuomo Administration has been signaling that it might permit the gas drilling process known as hydro fracking in a few areas in the Marcellus Shale region where the majority of people in communities want the gas drilling process to begin.

A Buffalo based non-profit research and education group says a recent University at Buffalo study on hydraulic fracturing is seriously flawed and biased.

Earlier this month UB released the study on the environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling, claiming environmental incidents based on fracking have dropped dramatically in Pennsylvania in recent years due to better regulation.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

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.

Earth Day came and went in New York without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state: when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will occur.

The future of fracking has been stalled in New York for several months now, as the State Department of Environmental Conservation plows through what Commissioner Joe Martens says is a “mountain” of over 60,000 public comments, collected during an environmental review.

“The focus now is on the comments and its monumental,” Martens said.

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. 

Alberto Mari / via Flickr

Niagara Falls has banned the treatment of fracking fluid.

The move comes after the Niagara Falls Water Board was openly considering treating fracking fluid from wells in Pennsylvania and Ohio in order to boost the city’s finances.

 The liquid is a toxic mix of chemicals and heavy metals used during the controversial natural gas drilling technique.

Opponents of fracking argue there is no safe way to purify the liquid before it is discharged into public water sources.

Unanimous vote

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