Cobbs Hill rally against fracking
This was just going to be a collection of photos and video to document the rally against hydrofracking that was held at Cobb's Hill park on September 21 2012. But while working on the video I was asked a troubling question: “What is fracking?” Scroll down past the videos for the answer and pictures from the event.
video: Demonstrators at Cobbs Hill park Rochester NY September 21 2012
video: George Payne of the MK Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence explains how fracking is an act of violence
Fracking is short for “Hydraulic Fracturing,” a method of extracting natural gas from shale rock such as the Marcellus deposit located under southern New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. It works by injecting huge quantities of water, sand and chemicals into the underground rock to release gas.
video: Judy Bello of Rochester Against War and Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones explains the link between the need to end warfare and to protect the Earth
The chemicals used are perhaps the biggest hazard. The fracking companies will not tell anyone what chemicals are used, claiming they are “trade secrets.” However in states such as Pennsylvania where fracking is permitted, highly toxic and radioactive substances have appeared in water. Uncollected gas is also present in water, sometimes in such quantities that tap water can be lit on fire. The Earth has a finite supply of water. Fracking takes millions of gallons of fresh water out of circulation permanently, making it unavailable for irrigation and drinking. Water that isn't permanently lost is polluted, overloading local sewage treatment plants. Most of these plants were designed to treat biological, not chemical waste.
video: Drone warfare and fracking can both kill innocents. A clean energy policy would eliminate the need for both and protect the environment.
Fracking has also been shown to cause earthquakes. Ohio, Arkansas and Texas have all experienced quakes since they began allowing fracking. A quake in Ohio in 2011 was so severe that the state declared a moratorium on fracking.
Natural gas has been touted by the industry as a “clean” fuel. It is still a fossil fuel, and burning it releases CO2 into the atmosphere just as burning coal or oil does. This CO2, or carbon dioxide, is responsible for global warming and climate change. Increased reliance on gas simply prolongs fossil fuel dependency and takes resources away from the development of renewable, nonpolluting sources of energy.
Fracking is not a new technology. It has been around since the 1960's. Drillers have known it was dangerous. Until 2005, drilling companies were responsible for damage caused by their drilling. That all changed during the Bush administration when legislation was passed exempting them from damages, ultimately putting the burden on the public. It was known as the “Halliburton” loophole, named after a drilling company who stood to benefit from it. Vice President Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton before leaving to become Vice President.
According to the industry, drilling “creates jobs” but this has not been the case in most locations. Instead companies bring workers from elsewhere, often from Texas. This has driven up the price of housing to a point that locals can no longer afford to live there. Once the gas is gone, the drillers pack up and leave, leaving local taxpayers to clean up the mess.
photos above and below show locations of fracking sites in Pennsylvania close to the New York border. Chemical contaminants from sites in Pennsylvania have already been found in wells in southern NY
Lastly we don't need the gas! Gas prices are way down. Massive compressor stations are being built so the gas can be shipped overseas. It is being used to generate electricity and power factories in India and China, the same factories that American jobs have been outsourced to.
photo: Demonstrators urge NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to permanently ban fracking in New York. Many voted for him due to what they felt was his stance against fracking.
New York has been known for over 100 years to have the best drinking water of any large city in the world. It comes from lakes and reservoirs upstate, right where they want to frack. Many US states, especially those in the West are already facing shortages of fresh water. Water is what is going to bring people and jobs back to New York in the future. That is, if we don't frack it up.