The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Letters to the Editor

February 5, 2013

Science should trump politics in frack debate

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued fracking regulations, having eliminated some original protections, before completing its environmental impact or secretive health study. The public response: 204,000 comments.

Many call for the science behind such arbitrary rules as setbacks of just 500 feet from homes (Texas requires two to three times this). And some call into question the cooperation of the industry that’s spent millions lobbying to cross our borders as it shrewdly weighs the cost of compliance.

Pennsylvania’s regulations were violated, on average, once for every two wells, among operators with 10-plus “unconventional” wells, last year. To read more, visit http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/drilling/violations. Luckily for residents of Pennsylvania, they are not forced into compulsory integration as we are.

The DEC promises final regulations in February, after which permits can be issued. A Siena Research poll recently showed upstate voters now oppose fracking 51 percent to 38 percent. Many recognize that the creators of the Ponzi schemes driving this bonanza will not be here to cleanup, as pockets of health problems begin to reveal failed casings and polluted aquifers already appearing in Pennsylvania. Our tourist and wine/yogurt/beer/organic farm startups will be gone, replaced by land that is uninhabitable, when land with fresh water will have become the coin of the realm.

France and Germany are among the nations that have looked at the science and banned the practice. Maryland’s governor, in extending the state’s ban, just budgeted $1.5 million to study health effects of fracking. I urge you to call Gov. Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 to demand that he, too, put science ahead of politics, as promised. Let us learn from the mistakes of others.

Paul Mendelsohn

Cherry Valley

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