New York State residents split over natural gas find

Posted Jan 25, 2010 by Stephanie Dearing
Albany, New York hosted two rallies Monday, with about 1,000 people showing up altogether. One rally was to lobby for natural gas drilling in New York's mountains. The other rally was to protest the plans to drill.
A view of the Catskills mountains  New York State.
A view of the Catskills mountains, New York State.
Albany, New York - The affected area, known as the Finger Lakes region, is home to a large gas deposit that has drawn a lot of interest from natural gas extraction companies.
One protester at the rally Monday, Catskills resident Wes Gillingham said "This is an important day for New York. This is not just about the Catskills, New York City water or the Finger Lakes. This is about the future of our whole state. We can't let the gleam of potential profits leave us with a legacy of polluted water and industrialized landscapes. New Yorkers are demanding better protection for the places they love and where they raise their children."
Earlier in the day, supporters of the drilling rallied, calling on the government to let the development proceed. The issue for these protesters is the thousands of jobs -- up to 8,000 jobs; as well as billions of dollars in revenue for the state. On the other hand, there are proponents who want to protect water and preserve the environment. They say money is not adequate compensation for a degraded environment and poor health in the future. New York State had put into place new regulations meant to safeguard the environment and people who live or vacation in the area and permitted the gas to be extracted.
New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has sided with the anti's on the natural gas extraction, issuing strong statements on Monday. The planned extraction of natural gas was nixed by New York's Department of Environmental Protection, but the Mayor had stayed out of the discussion until Monday.
The biggest part of the issue is how the gas would be extracted. The gas lies under a lot of rock, called Marcellus Shale, in New York's Southern Tier, and a process called "hydraulic fracture" or fracking, would be employed to open up the rock to let the gas out. Fracking involves the use of chemicals -- and only those inside the industry know what chemicals they are dealing with. Companies that make chemical mixes for fracking are tight-lipped on what mixes they use, but the United States Environmental Protection Agency has said the chemicals did not pose a risk because they were pumped below the water table.
Cornell University has also said no to the extraction of natural gas. Cornell's Vice President of Communications, Tommy Bruce told Cornell student newspaper, Campus Progress, "The university will not agree to a process that we believe might constitute a threat to the environmental integrity of our property or that might adversely affect the quality of life of people living in the areas that would be impacted by such a process."[/
The chemicals used in the extraction of natural gas have been linked to contaminated wells in other parts of the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency will be conducting a study on the effects of fracting on well water.
Hydraulic fracturing is widely used in the United States.