High-volume hydraulic fracturing may be coming to our area, if not sooner then later. Those of us who are against fracking have a diverse list of grievances with the practice. But I would like to ask pro-frackers to take a stand with us on just one of these issues, one that might save some of their neighbors from ruin, without contradicting their pro-drilling stand.
I’m speaking of a situation where a relatively small number of citizens are impacted by the polluting of their water wells by nearby fracking. For those who “don’t believe half of what they hear about Dimock,” I refer you the Pennsylvania DEP Bureau of Oil and Gas Management report, “Stray Natural Gas Migration Associated with Oil and Gas Wells,” in which more than 60 cases are documented over a period of several years. Accidents happen. Even the New York SGEIS, in banning fracking in the NYC watershed, states: “There is a continuing risk… of releases from chemicals, petroleum products and drilling fluids… as a result of… accidents… or improper operations.”
There is nothing in the law to protect an individual if his well is polluted except to sue huge gas companies. The folks in Dimock have been in the courts for three years. Their water is still unsafe to drink or even bathe in. They didn’t make that up for political reasons.
Given this potential for individual catastrophe, I am asking pro-frackers, and our town boards, to speak in support of a bill by Republican-Conservative NYS Senator Greg Ball calling for strict liability to apply to
fracking. Under this bill, homeowners would be made good without having to wait years in court. Protect your neighbors. It’s the right thing.