A fracking tower (photo via flickr)
The film "Gas Land" has woken people up to the dangers of fracking--the drilling technique that uses millions of gallons of pressurized and chemically treated water to fragment rock to get to natural gas. The New York State Senate obviously has questions about fracking after they voted 48 to 9 last Tuesday to issue a temporary moratorium on the practice. The moratorium will need State Assembly approval as well, but it sends a strong signal to investors who are angling to get access to the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas fields in North America. The Senate's moratorium would impose a ban on new drilling permits until May 15, 2011, so the State officials can look into the safety of the site.
Naturally, oil and gas industry officials expressed disappointment with the Senate's vote. Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, said the vote comes from "a calculated campaign of misinformation and ignorance."
In 2004, an EPA study declared the fracking posed "little or no threat to underground sources of drinking water." Congress later exempted the practice from clean water laws. But President Obama's EPA is taking a fresh look at fracking, and is holding hearings across the country to get public comment. The NY Senate's action is the first from a state legislature on the issue.
Here's the trailer for "Gas Land."
More on fracking:
Residents Speak Out on Natural Gas Fracking : TreeHugger
Fracking Is Finally Getting Some Attention and Regulation