photo: Marcellus Protest/CC BY
As expected, the DoE has announced its recommendations on what to do about the safety and environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, more commonly and colloquially known as fracking. The recommendations come a day after a group of scientists and New York State legislators have called into question the impartiality of the panel, due to 6 of 7 members having direct financial ties to the natural gas industry. Among the recommendations made by the panel are: 1) Making information about shale gas production operations more accessible to the public; 2) "Immediate and longer-term actions to reduce environmental and safety risks of shale gas operations, with a particular focus on protecting air and water quality"; 3) "Creation of a Shale Gas Industry Operation organization committed to continuous improvement of best operating practices"; 4) R&D; to improve safety and environmental performance.
The top line reading of the recommendations of course seems fine, but no doubt the devil's in the details here. We'll look into the report more closely and report.
New Yorkers' Divided on Fracking
Just as scientists and lawmakers timed their objections to the released of the report, a Quinnipiac University poll on New Yorker's feelings on fracking has been similarly timed.
As Reuters reports, the poll finds 47% of New Yorkers support fracking, while 42% oppose it. Give the margin of error in the poll (plus-minus 2.4%) it's safe to say New York voters are split down the middle on the issue.
Support for fracking shifts along urban, suburban and rural lines: 52% of suburban voters support it, 51% of rural voters do so, while just 38% of urban residents do.
Two-thirds of voters in the state believe that it will create more jobs, while at the same time 50% believe it "will cause environmental damage". Nearly 60% of respondents support a new tax on fracking companies.