Grassroots Groups Unite For Statewide Ban on Fracking in New York
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And we went to, at the time Patterson -- we've been through three governors -- and said, "You cannot start issuing permits under these conditions. They don't reflect this technology at all."
SA: And how does this new fracking technology ... how does it work? How is it different from the old style?
RA: Basically, all natural gas is not created equal. It's a fossil fuel. It is exactly like oil; it's ancient organisms and things that have been compressed and carbonized over millions of years, and there are big vast reservoirs of natural gas that are literally liquid reservoirs underground, that you drill a hole and suck it up; put it in a pipe; and be done with it.
Then there's other kind of tight shale formation natural gas where it's little pores of natural gas living in a tight solid rock, and they knew that there was gas in there with no way of getting it out, until they sort of went to the extreme ends of the earth with this blasting process called "fracking." So, they drill down a mile, and then they drill horizontally out another mile, and then they just poke holes in the pipes that they've got under there and blast the rock apart, and then let the natural gas pool, and they suck that up.
So, it's really a tough industry; it's a tough technology. It's a brutal technology and it requires vast amounts of chemicals -- toxic, carcinogenic chemicals -- and immense amount of energy to do this -- diesels, generators and trucks. So, it's a really dirty, dirty, dirty process for natural gas. It's so dirty, it's dirtier than coal -- the life cycle of fracking -- which is an important point that I want to talk about later.
There's five major points that the pro-gas people make, and each one of them is false. One is that it's clean fuel. It's not clean at all; it's dirty. It's a dirty fossil fuel; it's not going to help us from our climate fight perspective at all; it'll hurt us.
So, that's the process of fracking. You blast the rock; you suck it up; you put it out. You can frack a well 13 times. It's like spokes on a wheel -- when you drill down and you drill out -- like, 13 spokes. And then each frack job takes about 5 million gallons of water, so you're looking at each well, 5 x 13 -- I'm no mathematician, but that's a hell of a lot of water, all ruined, taken out of the water table, sucked up from this beautiful place.
Becoming toxic waste with no strategy, no mechanism to actually deal with it, because they really can't ... they leave most of it underground and hope nothing happens. And the stuff that they do suck up, they can't treat it; it's hazardous waste -- it's dangerous hazardous waste, so they forced us to classify it as "industrial waste," and again, this is an industry that's just run roughshod over all of us, so we know it's toxic, they know it's toxic, but they're forcing it to be considered "hazardous," which means that the local municipal water treatment facility is going to be obligated to take it and run it through their system.
SA: And there are so many layers to this that you've already mentioned, because there's the actual destruction to the environment; there's the vast amounts of water that are used and then also that become toxic waste. There are issues with land use, with municipalities, with roads, with infrastructure -- all of that.