Saturday, July 04, 2015

210.1 - Good News: NY state bans fracking

Good News: NY state bans fracking

Fracking, or more formally hydraulic fracturing, is the process of forcing fluids into oil and natural gas wells under high pressure in order to fracture the surrounding rock, allowing the oil or gas to flow more freely and so increase the production of the wells.

The practice has become quite controversial, linked to contamination of water supplies in Texas and Pennsylvania, among others, as well as earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma, and several other states.

However, the fossil fuel industry continues to push the practice because, bluntly, it is profitable for them and damn the consequences, which can be and have been denied, dismissed, or simply ignored. State governments, generally under the thumb of those sorts of powerful interests, have generally done more to protect the corporations' bottom lines than the safety and health of their residents. For example, last year, the citizens of Denton, Texas, voted to ban fracking within city limits. The state of Texas just shrugged and said in effect "who cares what you think, frack, baby, frack!"

Some in light of all that, what's the good news?

The good news is that not every state is in the pocket of the oil and gas corporations. The state of New York has now officially banned fracking within its borders.

Speaking for the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, Commissioner Joe Martens called the ban "the only reasonable alternative," noting that fracking "poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated."

This, of course, is not the end of it; there will be the corporate lawsuits and the corporate-funded lawsuits ostensibly by some "ordinary person" whose "rights are being violated," but still, this time it means the corporations and their allies are the ones on the defensive. And that certainly qualifies as good news.

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