Reasons for a Moratorium

Public Health and Safety

In its sGEIS, the DEC has prohibited fracking in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. If it is not safe for them, why for us? Why are we expected to put our water and health at risk?

Public Health Concerns of Shale Gas Development

Researchers point to risks if New York OKs fracking: State expected to lift drilling moratorium

New Jersey Senate Bans Treatment of Fracking Waste

Wall Street Journal Marketwatch (Release)
May 31, 2012, 12:23 p.m. EDT

So far, there has not been any study conducted that examines the long-term impact of cumulative fracking on public health. Read this letter to Nirav R. Shah, MD at the New York State Department of Health from numerous health care providers and doctors across the state.

Howarth To Congress: More Research Needed To Address Widespread Signs Of Health, Environmental Dangers Of Fracking

US Geological Survey, widely regarded as the authoritative source on drilling issues, warns NYS regulators that their plan to allow drilling and fracking in the Marcellus shale could endanger private water wells, municipal aquifers and NYC's water supply. Paul A Rubin, Hydrogeologist on behalf of HydroQuest and Mid-Hudson Geosciences, two professional hydrogeologic consulting firms stated that "today's gas field technology is not capable of isolating our freshwater aquifers from gas field contaminants. The enormous magnitude of planned gas well installations will result in large-scale and widespread water contamination that cannot be remediated.”

In August 2010 the Broome County Medical Society endorsed resolutions made by other county medical societies in NY to “support a moratorium to natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until completion of the Environmental Protection Agency study to evaluate its effects on human health and the environment.”

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air has compiled a "list of the harmed"--hundreds of complaints from residents about water contamination and other impacts on public health and quality of life and the number of complaints rises on a daily basis. This should cause you to at least want to be cautious and take action.

Cost to Taxpayers, Subsidizing the Industry

Naturally Occuring Radioactive Materials (NORMs) filling up our landfill
According to the NYS DEC sGEIS, a well 3,000 feet deep (average for Marcellus shale in NYS) would generate 54 cubic yds. of drill cuttings per well. Many times those drill cuttings contain naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) and must be disposed of properly, likely at our county landfill. This means the landfill will reach capacity sooner and the county will be faced with the decision of expanding the landfill or finding a new site, thus putting a financial cost for fracking on the taxpayers. In their comments about the draft sGEIS, the EPA questioned whether New York State’s landfills are prepared to handle the anticipated volume of radioactive drill cuttings.

Road Damage
In other parts of the country, damage to roads has resulted in increased costs for road repair and maintenance, even when governments have attempted to cover these costs with taxes associated with the gas production. For example, Jack Critcher of the Arkansas Municipal League, an organization that—according to its own website—“[acts] as the official representative of Arkansas cities and towns before the state and federal governments; [provides] a clearinghouse for information and answers; and, [offers] a forum for discussion and sharing of mutual concerns,” reported to a local radio station KUAR that “as of December 2010 the gas industry was responsible for $455 million worth of damage to state roads while the current severance tax has brought in about $200 million.” Critcher further indicated that they are “ already $200 million in the hole as far as damage to the roads that will eventually have to be fixed, and you know when the gas is gone we know the industry is going to be gone and so how are we going to pay for that damage?”

Jobs and Employee Safety

Frack sand: An easily overlooked occupational hazard
posted June 4, 2012 (opens a new window/tab)

potential health hazards from 100% crystalline silica to employees?
by Elizabeth Grossman

Industry brings in its own workers from other areas, few local people employed
The industry makes all kinds of claims about jobs, yet many employed are from out of town. Pennsylvania State Representative Jesse White, a strong proponent of fracking, wrote a scathing opinion piece entitled “Why Aren’t There More Marcellus Shale Jobs for PA Workers?” He chastised the industry for not employing more people locally. In the promises the industry makes about jobs, they conveniently fail to mention that most of those jobs will be filled by their own employees. In addition, people in Pennsylvania are already being laid off as market prices go down and so does production.

Defending Democracy Against Corporate Influence

SPECIAL REPORT-Chesapeake and rival plotted to suppress land prices

Pennsylvania natural gas interests spent $1.3 million on lobbying
State records show how much was spent during debate on a new impact fee for the natural gas industry
by John L. Micek
May 26, 2012,0,3007705.story

Property Values

Homeowners and Gas Drilling Leases: Boon or Bust?
By Elisabeth N. Radow
(NYSBA- New York State Bar Association)

Municipal Home Rule

To date, over a hundred municipalities have passed a ban or moratorium and numerous others are working to pass one. A current map and list are available from at . 

Economic Uncertainty

The landowners coalitions and the industry keep making promisings about the financial benefit of fracking, but these promises are purely speculation about the income generated by gas extraction (natural gas prices are very low now) and the actual amount of natural gas there is (projections come from the industry themselves and are often overestimated.) The Board knows neither the town's expenses associated with drilling nor the income that might be received. The State won't establish a Unit Production Value until well after drilling starts and it could be very low or potentially zero. Establishing a moratorium until this information is well established, is the proper and responsible course of action for the Board to take.

David Kay (Cornell University) stated that there is "evidence that regions dependent on resource extraction industries have poor prospects for long term economic development" and "in recent decades credible research evidence has grown showing that resource dependent communities can and often do end up worse off than they would have been without exploiting their extractive sector reserves."

The Economic Impact of Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling: What Have We Learned? What are the Limitations?

Local banks, credit unions, and other lending and financial institutions recognize that this industry is too high-risk and high-stakes and many will not invest in leased land and those that do heavily scrutinize their risk with regard to this unpredictable and hazardous practice. Many of their customers have reportedly already been denied mortgages and home-equity loans because their land has been leased for fracking. Nationwide Insurance and publicly clarified it will not assume the risk to home and property for the damage caused by fracking.

A study published by Cornell Cooperative Extension outlines how fracking will have negative impacts on housing affordability and accessibility, especially affecting those who are determined to be most vulnerable to a sudden increase in the demand for housing—elderly, low-income, fixed-income, and the mentally and physically ill—and that there will likely be an increase in homelessness and children without stable home and living environments.

Some valuable websites

New Yorkers Against Drilling

Marcellus Accountability Project

Catskill Mountainkeeper

Community Environmental Defense Council

Cornel Cooperative Extension Natural Gas Resource Center

WSKG's Marcellus Shale Resource Page


  Town of Union Citizens Against Fracking (TOUCAF) | PO Box 404 | Johnson City, NY 13790-0404 |

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