Toxic Wastewater Dumped in Streets and Rivers at Night: Gas Profiteers Getting Away With Shocking Environmental Crimes
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In August 2011, New York State Senator Greg Ball took a tour of Pennsylvania to properly verse himself on hydraulic fracturing prior to making up his mind on the issue. A common sense approach. Upon return, he urged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to do likewise.
Ball, an outdoorsman and fisherman, has much in common with the residents of Greene County. Recounting his tour of Pennsylvania, Ball says he saw a process begin without the manpower and funding in place to regulate the process and he witnessed firsthand how tough it has been for the state to hold the oil and gas industry accountable. He saw “real fears in residents of Pennsylvania” -- farmers and property owners deceived on whether water was clean or contaminated. One of his biggest elements of concern is the fact that billions of gallons of clean drinking water are being used or affected by this industry.
“This is a limited resource,” Ball says. “The fact that millions of gallons of drinking water is being allowed to be contaminated is a fundamental issue.”
Besides health concerns regarding the issue of clean water, he’s troubled about the overall quality of life for citizens. He wants New York “to avoid the devastation seen in other states,” to avoid the haste he saw in other states, the overall rush to expedite permits and drilling before the proper framework was in place on how to regulate this industry. “Wastewater needs to be treated as an industrial waste,” says Ball. “New York needs to set an example on how this industry needs to be held accountable.”
While at a national level, Ball says it’s essential to eliminate the “Halliburton loophole,” which exempts fracking from compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“Clean water has nothing to do with politics,” says Ball, a Republican. “It shows why politics suck in America.” Ball says citizens need to stop pointing at each other and focus on the real problem, which is the amount of money and influence currently corrupting the government, the red-carpet treatment some industries receive.
Clean water should be something beyond politics. Or in the words of Billy Craig, an ironworker from the Mason Dixon line, “If we don’t have clean water, we’re all in trouble. None of us are going to survive. Clean water is something we all need.”