Fracking is heavy industry in a rural area.
As 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!Citizens who have seen fracking in their home towns are aware of the pain and loss that will pour over a community when the juggernaut of Hydraulic Fracturing comes to bully its way into their lives. The costs to society are enormous, just as the profits are enormous to the industry. Fracking operations are not good citizens.
This diary is built on information delivered in a presentation to my Town Board before its most recent meeting. I took notes and have used them to write the diary. Substantive resources to affirm and expand what I have written are available at the FrackFreeGenesee website.
Last week I described fracking; the toxicity, the sheer size of a well head and the wells that branch out from it; the amount of fresh water it destroys, the noise and the permanent risks to the environment that fracking brings to a location.
The well that exploded in South-western Pennsylvania last week required a 1/2 mile perimeter because of the high heat and dangerous chemicals present.
This is not an improvement to the quality of people's lives. In my town, there wouldn't be any location that a 1/2 mile perimeter wouldn't result in people being forced from their homes and businesses. Remember; one accident per 150 wells per year = average.
This is what will happen when fracking moves in.
All surface water and shallow aquifers will be at risk of permanent contamination. If a chemical laden truck crashes or a storage pond leaks, there is no going back to safe.
Heavy truck traffic will increase dramatically on the rural roads. Each well amounts to 40,000 trips with trucks carrying equipment, pipes and chemicals, both those going into the wells and the waste water that must be removed and disposed of. Collisions of cars with big trucks will increase.
The quiet peace of the country will be replaced by the sounds of truck traffic, plus huge drills and pumps pounding away day and night. The sky will be too bright to see the stars like before from the all-night lights on the pad.
The air will be filled with the chemical smells of the operation and the increased dust and exhaust from the constant movement of the big rigs. Those downwind will be the most exposed, even to the radon gas that will be released when the earth is disturbed.
The local workers will not have the needed skills, so the industry will import its labor from other fracking locations. The farming and tourism jobs that the Finger Lakes region has in abundance will disappear slowly, unlikely to return. When the drilling crews leave, only a few workers will be needed to keep the operation running.
The local town will enjoy a Boom Town scenario. At first, landlords and eateries will find their business will be good. Rents will go up. Locals will not be able to afford to live in the more expensive properties and may end up homeless. Restaurants and bars will sell food and drink 24/7. Crime will increase as well; especially DUI and resulting car accidents. Then the drilling crew and their easy money will leave.
There will be long term and short term health consequences. Lung cancer from chemicals and radon. Increase in asthma. Depression. Illnesses from drinking and bathing in water that used to be safe but has become slowly contaminated.
Sustainable employment in traditional industries will fade. Sick animals will cause the decline of farming and hunting and fishing. Organic farms won't be able to keep their certification. Tourists will find better places to take family vacations. Hardwares and tractor dealers, camping resorts and nurseries, restaurants and schools will all suffer from the loss of jobs. Families will move away and a downward economic spiral will begin.
The towns of rural NY are not built to handle heavy industry. There are few who could resist the pressure of big business to convince them that it would be a great idea for them to lease their land (forever) to a petroleum company. We have a lot of natural gas wells already in NY, many farms have more than one. We use the abundant gas to heat our homes and run the farms. But, they were not produced by hydro-fracking; they don't need to be that deep since there is gas above the shale, and they increase property values not damage them.
There will be an expensive increase in the need for emergency services and trained Haz-Mat personnel. More accidents, more fights, maybe spills or explosions.
Remember those trucks? They will damage the infrastructure. Roads that were never meant for heavy trucks will need repair and replacement, bridges will become old before their time.
NYS just rebuilt the road that leads to our salt mine, but the short stretch that leads from the interstate highway to the mine is already falling apart, as the trucks are sometimes lined up on it for hours, waiting for their turn to be loaded with salt for a return trip to a wintery location. The other side that goes back to the interstate just can't handle the weight of loaded truck after loaded truck. The truckers are frustrated too, sometimes taking risks in traffic because the have to wait to enter or leave the mine. The estimated cost of rebuilding one mile of road stands at $275,000, and of course there is traffic congestion during the reconstruction.
Property values will fall. Fewer people will be employed locally. The trucks will make some roads hell to live on. The air and water won't be nice anymore. There will be noise and light pollution. The value of beautiful country homes people have worked their whole life to build will be lost with little chance of the value coming back. Some lenders will refuse new mortgages to the area, because of the risk of loss of value when fracking comes to town. Some properties will be accidentally damaged by traffic accident or toxic spill. If a gas lease contacts your property, the lender can call the mortgage you do have, and there are legal structures in place related to eminent domain that allows drillers to access you property even if you have never given permission or benefit from a lease.
Taxes will go up. Fewer people, reduced property values, broken infrastructure, more emergency personnel, well testing and new safe water systems to be built are all possible reasons that governments will need more money, but individuals in towns with fracking will be less and less able to pay such high taxes. New Yorkers are already taxed at such high levels, and current increases have been more than the increases in income. We don't have too many Wall Street types in central or western NY.
We have seen the stories of the earthquakes in Ohio and Oklahoma, the noxious gasses constantly in the air in Texas, the terrible traffic in Pennsylvania, the homelessness in the Dakotas.
All of those things and more could come to the Finger Lakes Region of New York if the governor does not say No! We will protect what we can with moratoriums and zoning laws at the town level. We must protect the water here as well as the people by continuing to fight hydraulic fracking in NY.
So, what can you do to prevent fracking coming to your town? The experts at FrackFree Genesee say the best way is with zoning laws that prevent that kind of industry in non-industrial zones. Town Boards can set moratoriums but so far, they cannot set bans in NY. We are working on it!I want to thank the IAN regulars for letting me explain this issue here, two weeks in a row! Next week I will try for something far less heavy! weck