Over the past two decades, the issue of horizontal hydrofracking has become a hot topic of debate throughout much of upstate New York, as we have discovered an abundance of natural gas trapped in shale formations beneath our feet. Horizontal hydrofracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a process by which natural gas is extracted from tight shale formations 5,000 to 9,000 feet below the surface of the earth.
Horizontal hydrofracking involves drilling vertically to the middle of the shale deposit, and then horizontally for 1 mile to 3 three miles. Next, 2 million to 3 million gallons of fresh water mixed with up to 650 toxic chemicals and sand are injected into the nearly three miles of drilled rock at extremely high pressure in order to fracture the shale and allow the gas to flow freely back to the surface where it is extracted.
Despite what many gas companies say, the technology used in hydrofracking has not been perfected, due to the complexity of this extremely difficult process.
There have been numerous incidences in other states such as Pennsylvania in which both technological and operator error have led to countless reports including groundwater contamination, surface water contamination, the spewing of toxic chemicals into pastures killing livestock and numerous cases of health complications among people living in close proximity to hydrofracking operations. Despite hydrofracking companys claims that they are not polluting aquifers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently published a report that showed significantly increased natural gas concentrations in freshwater wells with closer proximity to hydrofracking wells.
The state of New York is currently in a period of reviewing whether or not hydrofracking will be allowed as an industry. Hydrofracking companies have proposed the development of up to 80,000 wells across regions of this state that are rich in natural gas shale. If you care about your access to drinking water, the air you breathe, the wilderness you walk, hike, hunt and fish in, or any of the organisms that share this environment we are all a part of, then I urge you to educate yourself more about this pressing issue.
Numerous articles have been published in newspapers and on the Internet. Learn more about the effects of hydrofracking and see if it is something that you want to come to New York.