This article was adapted from an email by Maura Stephens. Maura is an independent journalist, author of the forthcoming book “Frack Attack: Fighting Back,” and cofounder of several grassroots organizations including the Coalition to Protect New York and FrackbustersNY. This article was published with permission of the author. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 100% fracking-eager incumbent Town of Spencer (Tioga County) board members are hoping to hold their seats against three independent and antifracking “SpencerTogether” candidates. At last Wednesday’s (October 23) Board Meetng the incumbents came out and said essentially that there’s no need to worry about fracking because there’s nothing going to happen After spending years getting to the place where we have a good chance to break their stranglehold on our local government, this could keep people home on Tuesday who would otherwise vote for common sense.
Statements like “it’s unlikely to happen here” are misleading, and deliberately so. This is almost an industry position, lulling people into a false sense of security.
Gas infrastructure is going in around the state faster than anyone can keep up. Compressor stations, lakeside storage facilities, other storage facilities, train and truck transportation depots/staging areas, drill cuttings dumping, liquid waste spreading, silica sand importation and distribution operations, pipelines of every size, export terminals, offshore and onshore operations . . . this stuff is happening NOW and readying for fracking SOON. There is no reason to believe that all this infrastructure building will go for nought. Let’s not be fooled into complacency and then be blindsided. I assure you the gas industry is NOT going away from New York State.
Anyone in Tompkins County or elsewhere in the state with a “ban” or other protection who thinks you’re “safe” is fooling yourself. If fracking begins anywhere in NYS, it is going to affect us all. Heck, PA fracking is already affecting our air quality and food supply, as well as traffic, crime and prices along the Southern Tier, and none of these things stays put. Fracking and related industrial activities will surely contribute to housing costs in Tompkins County when more Pennsylvanians try to move here in droves. There are already quite a few Pennsylvania fracking refugees here. There will be more and more. But where will WE go if fracking comes to New York State? There is no safe place. Every state in the union is currently under attack by fossil fuel and related industries. Even Florida, which most people on this list realize will not exist in its present state within a couple decades, is being fracked. And all the other places we thought we might escape to — Ireland, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, to name a few English-speaking countries — are under attack by fossil fuel marauders.
We cannot assume we have nothing to worry about. We still have much to combat. By my count there are at least 30 infrastructure build-outs in New York State, including just a few examples here:
1) The BFI Landfill in Niagara Falls is accepting frack waste.
2) The Hyland Landfill in Angelica, Allegany County, is accepting frack waste.
3) The Chemung County Landfill is accepting frack waste.
4) Pipelines all up and down and across the state, including such insane things as the Rockaway Lateral Pipeline planned to go through a protected wetland and an area that was horrifically hit by Hurricane Sandy a year ago today, one or two pipelines going ME-MA-RI-CT-under Long Island Sound to LI.
5) Water withdrawals from our rivers and aquifers for use in fracking.
6) Compressor stations such as Minisink (all the pipelines require compressor stations every seven to 100 miles).
7) LNG storage: Cuomo has proposed making it easier to transport frack gas into and around the state by legalizing the construction of facilities for liquefying it.
8) Transforming NYC boilers and cooking stove/ovens to NG.
9) NYC as of this Friday 11/1 will be piping Marcellus frack gas directly into NYC apartment buildings, radically increasing the amount of radon in people’s homes.
(Because, by the way, Radioactivity is part of the process and the waste, and Marcellus gas is more highly radioactive than gas drilled in OK and TX. Traveling a shorter time, too, through pipelines rather than on trucks, means the radioactivity has less time to dissipate.)
It’s pure insanity. Yes, it sure is. We need more people engaged with fighting fracking and all fossil fuel extraction. We don’t need to tell people a few days before a critical election that “everything’s OK because there’s not enough gas here to make fracking viable.”
SO PLEASE DO NOT REST. Please do everything you can to get people out to vote in our local communities. This is a critical election, and in many communities some of our “own” — environmental sensibility/human rights advocates — are running for office despite the fact that they’re already exhausted because they know how critical this election is.