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"Probably the biggest environmental issue in New York State.  Ever."
Itzl AlertingAs you can see by Itzl's concerned look, this group is for us to check in at to let people know we are alive, doing OK, and not affected by such things as heat, blizzards, floods, wild fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, or other such things that could keep us off DKos. It's also so we can find other Kossacks nearby for in-person checks when other methods of communication fail - a buddy system. Members come here to check in. If you're not here, or anywhere else on DKos, and there are adverse conditions in your area (floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, etc.), we and your buddy are going to check up on you. If you are going to be away from your computer for a day or a week, let us know here.  We care!
This week, our Town Board allowed FrackFreeGenesee to present information for an hour before their regular meeting.  New York State currently is in the process of deciding whether to allow fracking in the state.  Although there are five landfills/wastewater processing sites currently accepting solid and fluid waste from fracking in nearby states (Ohio and Pennsylvania) in NY, there are no approved wells into the Marcellus shale here.

Bob Thompson, assisted by Jamie Carestio and Bob Nilsson, explained that there are a few "levees" that currently may hold back the corporations as they seek profits at the expense of community.  The concepts of home rule and moritorium have been found to be legal barriers to drilling.  He explained that only the Town Boards have the power to enact a Moritorium (extended as needed) and that the dictum of Home Rule supercedes the state's interest in allowing or disallowing fracking within the town limits.

His mission, their mission, is to make this presentation to as many Town Boards as possible.

Natural Gas Fracking

FrackFreeGenesee is a three year old organization of citizen volunteers performing peer-to-peer education to landowners and others about what fracking will mean to their community should it come to town.

Bob and his neighbors were approached by "landsmen" to lease their land a few years ago.  In doing his research, he found that the landsmen were willing to stretch the truth about the impact of fracking, and, what triggered him strongly to resist fracking in New York and specifically in the Finger Lakes Region was the provision of the lease stating "lifetime mineral rights".  Once embedded into a farmer's property, there would not be a way to exit the lease, short of repurchasing the rights from whichever company then owned them.

The process of fracking was described briefly; drilling deep, a mile or more into the earth then using an explosive to fracture the shale, followed by sending down a high volume of water laden with chemicals and sand under high pressure to keep the fractures open.  The toxic fluids are pumped to the surface and must be disposed of, but the sand stays, keeping the cracks in the rock open and allowing the gas to escape the rock and rise to the surface.  

The fluids will acquire additional chemical substances while underground, including lead and radon.  They will be stored in ponds at the site until they can be loaded into tanker trucks or trains for disposal, usually into deep "injection wells" no longer in production.  NY has records of where such wells might be located, but they seem to have lost track of the locations of up to 40,000 of them.  Fluids injected into one deep well may return to the surface via another unknown well nearby.  Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio have injection well sites which seem to be the epicenters of repeated earthquakes.

One well head can have anywhere from 6 to 18 individual wells and after each well is fracked, the process may be repeated up to three more times with additional water, sand, chemicals and explosives. One individual well will use up to 84,000,000 gallons of fresh water, which is then considered to be "consumed" and will never again be safe or available for use.

It is the combination of the shale and the water in the Finger Lakes which makes fracking the region so enticing to the producers of natural gas.  Approximately 7% of all the fresh water in the world can be found in or adjacent to the this part of New York State.  However, all that water is the basis for the sustainable industries we now have, the two most important being Agriculture and Tourism.  

Damage the water, make it unsafe or unattractive and tens of thousands of jobs will be lost, never to be replaced.  The gas production companies bring in their own workers to drill and frack the shale, with only a few left behind to manage the 3-5 acre pad when the well is up and producing.  They will work around the clock, drilling and pumping and destroying the serenity of the locality.  They will inject a "cocktail", some combination of approximately 700 chemicals (a proprietary blend so unknown to local Haz-Mat teams) and haul those "chemicals of concern" in and out with heavy trucks or railroad cars.  

There will be up to 600,000 gallons of chemicals, including known carcinogens, brought in for each well, but if something spills, there is no rapid way to determine how to protect people or the environment.  For each 150 wells drilled, industry averages suggest there will be one "accident" per year.  If the chemicals enter any fresh water system; stream, river pond or lake, or descend into the aquifer people drill their private and public wells into, those toxic waters will be "consumed" and every living thing in them will die. Such land and water will be unsafe for use far into our children's future.

The "Haliburton Loophole" is the most famous of the seven environmental laws which have exclusions for fracking chemicals, and the right of business to pollute without consequence are placed above the rights of citizens to the quiet enjoyment of their property and the right to live in an undamaged environment.

Organic farming is a large share of Agriculture in the Finger Lakes.  If a chemical spill were to occur, those farms would lose their Organic certification.  Forever.

Medical costs to the region would surely increase.  Dr. M. Resnikoff  has calculated that between 2,000 and 30,000 additional lung cancer deaths could be attributed to the release of Radon gas from the earth because of fracking.

Fracking uses so much water that new fights over water rights will ensue, certainly increasing its cost and availability to our currently sustainable industries, putting them into financial peril.  Californians are right to be terrified about the use of their fresh water by industrial fracking concerns; Pennsylvania needed to halt fracking for a while during a time of drought.  

                                     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There were between fifty and one hundred people at the presentation, and like me some were making notes.  I saw farmers, activists and politicians. Most were from my town, but not all, and most of my neighbors were there because they needed to learn more about the impact fracking would have on them and on their families and businesses.

The FrackFreeGenesee volunteers have clearly done an incredible job of bringing together many bits of information, and they have an incredible website where the documentation for all that I have written may be accessed; .

I found that there was much I didn't know about the fracking issue.  So much in fact that I must discuss the impact upon individuals and communities in Part II of this Diary next Thursday.  

Which environmental issue is of most concern in your location?

Originally posted to Itzl Alert Network on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:55 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Rights Movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Finger Lakes are Gorges (8+ / 0-)

    I hope that we can keep them safe and clean.

    Closer to home, the storm is rolling in but I elected to keep the car at the top of the hill for tonight; significant snow is not predicted to fall until after I am up and about.

    And Time Reborn has arrived at the library, so I will have something absorbing to read while snuggled up against the storm tomorrow night.

    Stay safe, everyone.

    o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel

    by tarkangi on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:09:33 PM PST

  •  We're in another drought (11+ / 0-)

    But a class that woke me up at 4 AM Tuesday went especially well today, so I'm at least feeling better about that.  Happy Thursday, all.

  •  Rec'd And Tipped. (15+ / 0-)

    What is wrong with our gov't? The Finger Lakes Region. Pristine! and NY is accepting fracking waste from other states! Don't they realize there is not enough money in the world to bring this dangerous, toxic garbage to beautiful upstate New York?

    These landfills are forever! WTF???

    It would be crazy to allow fracking. I would make NY State Stop this too.

    There are five landfills/waste water processing sites currently accepting solid and fluid waste from fracking in nearby states (Ohio and Pennsylvania) in NY.
    I have a new diary, regarding natural gas transportation.

    Fate Of NJ And NYC To Be Decided By Federal Appeals Court

    Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

    by rebel ga on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:41:32 PM PST

    •  I believe that it will be stopped. (5+ / 0-)

      The reason we are getting waste from other states is because their disposal of toxic waste laws are tougher than ours.  They are trucking this stuff around the state in tankers which carry about 6,000 gallons each.  One accident will cause so much damage.  They want to move it by train too, same result multiplied by 1000.

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

      by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:01:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Checking in (8+ / 0-)

    I hope everyone is warm and dry.  We have had rain all day.  It has finally stopped.  Our first thunder storm of the year.

  •  As another resident of the Finger Lakes (9+ / 0-)

    my skin is in the game. Town of Dryden (near Ithaca), where I live was one of the first to invoke Home Rule and ban hydrofracking. Third lawsuit underway, by a third drilling company not from NY.

    I was approached by landsmen some years ago and said "no". Between having my private well, and having low-level radon in the house already, I am trying to protect my investment. I understood that even if I said "NO" that a drill pad could be several miles from me and still find my property.

    Daughter and I did the old lighter-to-water test to make sure that we didn't already have methane in the water. We passed. I still am irritated that NY State decided that the Catskills and Syracuse areas would be off-limits to hydrofracking, but the rest of us, in smaller metro areas or rural areas over the Marcellus Shale were fair game.

    Please let Cuomo just say no.

    Oh, and I saw a video by BBC, I think, that showed trucks driving up Route 81 from PA, carrying fracking fluid to Watertown!! I drive up from Ithaca a lot  to Canada and since 9/11 it is impossible to figure out what those tankers are carrying. Makes me ill.

    So, snow hasn't started yet here but it's coming. But not so much. Hell, it could be less than the Cayuga Lake Effect that I have been getting for days.

    Have a good Thursday to all. At least the light starts earlier and ends later. SAD can go away.

    Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

    by riverlover on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:40:25 AM PST

    •  I heard about the Dryden case at the presentation. (4+ / 0-)

      they also showed trucks in process, and explained that there would be 40,000 truck trips per well.  There really aren't roads in the Finger Lakes designed for that kind of traffic.

      The folks in Angelica, where one of my sisters lives, are doing what they can to prevent more of the waste from coming there.  It is so rural, so beautiful and so poor there now that the lumber industry is gone.

      About 100 people from my area can now tell others how this will ruin any place that it is allowed to happen.   The presenters believe that we won't have a decision before the next election, Cuomo is playing politics with the issue.  I don't think my town has a moratorium, but last fall we replaced two of the Rs with two Ds on the town board, I am pretty sure the issue will come up!

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

      by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:14:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In a rush... (6+ / 0-)

    I got up in plenty of time, but am moving slow.  I have a Dr. appt (routine) at 9:30, but need to be out of here by 8 to get there on the bus.

    Yesterday's outing was good, without ill effects after so much enforced rest and seclusion.  I did get a little winded and my back complained a lot, but that's no biggie.   Today's jaunt requires less walking and the temps will be warmer.  

    Be safe, everyone.  Time to hop in the shower!

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:53:11 AM PST

  •  Good morning. (5+ / 0-)

    Very interesting weck.   Looking forward to the conclusion next week.  

    It poured most of the night and the temperature dropped 30 degrees.   Just doing stuff today.

    Have a nice day.

    I am a work in progress. Still.

    by broths on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:16:56 AM PST

  •  Good morning!! Thank you for the BEST and (5+ / 0-)

    clearest explanation of Fracking that I have ever read.

    Ugh. No wonder everyone but greedy oil companies and politicians hate it :(

    Have a great day, everyone. Crazy busy getting ready for trip.

    Son is cleaning out his room. The hall is filled with his stuffed animals and rubber duckies. I feel so sad :(

    Lawmakers, either get out of the vagina business, or go to medical school. Senator Wendy Davis

    by BadKitties on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:37:44 AM PST

    •  From experience, I know that he won't want these (4+ / 0-)

      things as he matures, either.  You can keep them in the garage for a few months or edit now!  When the time came for us to clear a room, I saved a few objects that were important to me!  ;0)   Maybe someday there will be some acknowledgement, but so far, offspring has moved on to new things.  

      Have you decided on what the new look of the room will be?

      Next Thursday I will address how the facts above come into play as a group and impact humans and mother earth.

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

      by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:59:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He brought me some things that he made :) (4+ / 0-)

        A train, a dinosaur puzzle that he made in preschool, a painted skull, and a log cabin :) He asked me rather shyly if I wanted to keep them. I have a shelf in my office for treasures :)

        Sort of. He wants a double bed, but he is already 5'8" at 13 and will be between 6'4" and 6'7" as an adult, according to Not surprising. My father was 6'3", a great-uncle was 6'4", and one brother is 6'4". DH is 6'2". So I wonder if we should get a queen size.

        He wanted a couch and a flat-screen TV. Not getting the TV! He has a very nice dresser that used to be mine, so he'll keep that. And an Art Deco desk, but it is pretty small.

        He wanted to paint the room bright orange, like my brother painted the upstairs bathroom in the beach house. It is HIDEOUS. Weird, because my brother has excellent taste. Usually. He did it to warm up the room. Son's room is French blue now.

        There was a window seat in his room, but a previous owner built a desk with two little chests under it. We'll knock that out and put either the bed or the couch there.

        He has three bookcases. He'll keep one or two. He has the black shag rug that used to be in the basement.

        Kid is a minimalist. Maybe we'll paint the room a deep cream color. Or pale yellow. Window blind, bookcase, dresser, and desk are cherry.

        There are shelves running the length of the room, where he kept his stuffed animals. He wants the shelves gone, but DD wants them. The rooms are different sizes and shapes, so I may need to cut them.

        Lawmakers, either get out of the vagina business, or go to medical school. Senator Wendy Davis

        by BadKitties on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:26:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like quite a project! (3+ / 0-)

          I hope you can keep some treasures.

          A cream colored room can have lots of bright orang accents and curtains!

          If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

          by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:58:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Augh! Yes. Huge project :( (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            weck, bigjacbigjacbigjac

            We'll have to get the drywall guy in, and the painter. We have to sell the bunk beds and bedding on Craigslist. We need to buy the bed and couch. Will sell the Legos on eBay if my brother doesn't want them.

            I want to keep a couple of the bears (he used to collect them, so we brought him one from every trip) and I don't know what to do with the rubber duckies. There are duckies from my mother's travels.

            Ohhhh :(

            Lawmakers, either get out of the vagina business, or go to medical school. Senator Wendy Davis

            by BadKitties on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:10:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Duckie races are another fundraiser! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Put them in a stream after numbering them!  The first duckie to cross the finish line wins!  They can be used over and over, folks "sponsor a duckie"  and collect a ribbon (or other prize)  for the win.  The stream doesn't have to be natural or long, but it should have rocks to create turbulence.  Works well at church bazaars in warm months.  Trickier indoors.

              Does somebody need more duckies for their fundraiser?  Is there an empty spot for them under the new bed for now?  I don't know how you mom would feel.  

              If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

              by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:59:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'm going to send some things to my (3+ / 0-)

    nephews. There's probably over $1000 worth of Legos. Ack.

    Lawmakers, either get out of the vagina business, or go to medical school. Senator Wendy Davis

    by BadKitties on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:36:32 AM PST

  •  Really great diary, weck, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, FloridaSNMOM, BadKitties

    thank you! Disturbing, interesting. Looking forward to next week's installment.

    I think more and more people are turning against fracking and seeking strong legal ways to stop it. This is very hopeful. I believe  you're right about Gov. Cuomo playing politics. I've been disappointed in him, but I hope he does the right thing with this when he finally decides to do something!

    Meanwhile, the promised snowstorm has arrived here. The plow has been by at least 4 times since I got up. It's snowing heavily and it's windy. I can't go anywhere. Not that I have to, but I like to know that I can.

    Hope everyone is keeping safe and warm and has a good day no matter what the weather is.

  •  Good morning... (4+ / 0-)

    it's been a busy morning, floors swept and mopped, dishes done, I've sprayed the bedroom carpets with cleaner, about to vacuum those. Changed and cleaned the litter box...

    Generally feeling better today, though my right hand is swollen and hurts some, especially one finger that got tugged by Morgaine on leash yesterday morning. I think she sprained it.

    A lot of waterway pollution issues and invasive species down here. I'm not sure how much fracking is going on in Florida, some off shore oil issues I know of. We get a lot of sink holes already, I can't imagine fracking would work well.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:03:51 AM PST

  •  Oh, carolanne... they are worried that he will (3+ / 0-)

    approve it after he gets re-elected.  I feel frantic about that and wish we had some environmental star to primary him with!

    We are overcast but haven't seen a flake.  I think our worst case prognosis is two-four inches of fluff.  We sell generators in our store but so far this year, there hasn't been a storm here that would make folks buy them.  We may be able to transfer them to another dealer who needs them now.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

    by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:05:11 AM PST

    •  I'm worried that he'll approve it, too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      Also worried because he has a boatload of money for campaigning & any opposition will probably be at a big disadvantage.

      Don't mean to sound negative - I'm letting the weather affect my mood!

      •  Andrew is not beloved in this part of the state. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, carolanne

        he has lost all the gunowners, I even know one that changed parties!  If he loses his blue constituents because of the environment, I am not sure he will even be re-elected.  I wonder if writing to his father would do any good.  ;0)

        If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

        by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:44:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Missed ya last night and I only have time to skim (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    right now ( will def. read later) - but I'm you all know by now that a nat. gas huge pipeline exploded in KY this morning. There's a dairy on it and also this article in Think Progress:

    One of the comments in the ThinkProg article points out that this is the fifth major fossil fuels-related disasters in 10 days. We're going to be needing an interactive map to keep up with these things.

    Once again, I sure wish the country had listened to Pres. Carter when he was starting on the path to renewable energy. Imnsho, everyone who ever voted for Reagan owns a piece of this.

    That said - hope everyone here stays safe (especially in the snowbound southeast) and has a decent day :)

    I don't love writing, but I love having written ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:05:28 AM PST

    •  Thanks jan. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigjacbigjacbigjac, jan4insight

      I'll be hooking this one to next weeks follow up diary if you miss it.  There are several other environmental diaries today as well, including a good one in the spotlight on oil going to the Port of Albany.  It's the NE corridor getting slammed now, all the big cities!

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

      by weck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:23:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well written diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, BadKitties

    I worked on an oil drilling rig,
    so I know a little about what's done
    to avoid contaminating groundwater
    with any fluids pumped into the well.


    This fracking involves vast volumes of toxic fluids,

    After describing the whole process,
    a person could ask the rhetorical question,
    "What could possibly go wrong?"

    To bring up my big topic,
    since it is connected:

    Let's have just about everyone
    move off the farms,
    move to the cities.

    All the food will be shipped in
    to the cities.

    The farming,
    and the shipping,
    will be done using equipment
    that burns diesel fuel.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    What has gone wrong,
    of course,
    is that on the one side
    are those like us
    who are concerned about ruining everything
    just to get one more drop of oil,
    just one more cubic foot of natural gas,
    on the other side,
    and railroads,
    desperate for that oil or natural gas,
    to produce the food,
    and ship it to the cities.

    There is no way this will end well.

    That's why I keep
    warning of the coming famine.

    Maybe a few folks will find a way to survive,
    raising chickens and ducks,
    living on the eggs,
    and other foods,
    produced by themselves.

    By the way,
    if you find me annoying,
    and many folks do
    (in my face-to-face world,
    nearly everyone who knows me finds me annoying,
    because I ramble on,
    in detail,
    about various topics,
    and folks get tired of it),
    I found a kind of proverb
    on Facebook,
    that describes how I feel
    about anyone who might truly put me down.

    I took care of a very disabled wife,
    for 30 years,
    and then she died,
    and I do a lot
    for my current wife,
    and her family,
    who lives with us,
    such as cooking for everyone.

    Here's the proverb,
    edited by me:


    Those who criticize your life
    are probably those
    who simply don't know
    the price you've paid
    to get where you are

    Which reminds me of my Life Poem:

    We do what we can
    with what we've got.

    Our life is only that.

    We stand
    at the end of the day.

    We see some respect
    from a few,
    our friends.

    We smile for a moment.

    And then we're gone.

    Which reminds me of my favorite
    Satchel Paige quote:

    Work like you don't need the money.

    Love like you've never been hurt.

    Dance like nobody's watching.

    Thanks for reading.

    Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:20:35 AM PST

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