The Buffalo News: Fracking boom could go bust in N.Y.


Larry Beahan of Buffalo and Mike White of Steuben County live 130 miles away from each other, and their views on fracking seem at least that far apart.
Yet, strangely, the Buffalo environmentalist and the Southern Tier property owner are equally pessimistic about what once was seen as a likely natural gas boom in the Southern Tier to match one that has transformed northern Pennsylvania.
To Beahan, New York is moving slowly but fatefully toward allowing a kind of natural gas drilling that he says will spoil the environment.
“We’re simply not equipped to handle the massive amount of potential contamination” the Buffalo resident said he fears from the hazardous chemicals used in the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
But to White, the state’s slow-going, take-no-risks approach to allowing fracking could crush the industry before it ever gets off the ground.
Southern Tier property owners, truck drivers and blue-collar workers who expected to reap the benefits of the gas beneath their lands are frustrated.
“It’s like they’ve almost lost hope,” said White, of Addison, the longtime head of a local landowners association.
Such is the state of the fracking debate in the days before the Department of Environmental Conservation begins a series of public hearings on the issue — and as the state nears a final decision sometime next year on whether and how to allow drilling...