Ban on fracking built on irrational fears, not facts


Banning hydraulic fracturing in a town like Dryden, N.Y., is just a bad idea.
Dryden is gripped with irrational fear being whipped up by opportunistic environmental activists. They have led people to believe that their drinking water is at risk from gas development.
That’s not true. The charge ignores the record of 70,000 oil and gas wells that have already been drilled, and have been producing, in New York for a century. Every one of those wells reaches hydrocarbons by way of passing through an aquifer.
(In a recent ruling, State Supreme Court Justice Phillip R. Rumsey held that the town of Dryden in Tompkins County had the right under its zoning law to bar natural gas drilling within its boundaries. — Editor.)
Activists have conflated historical industrial pollution with oil and gas development in order to stir up wild emotions, but it’s wrong. New York has 220 sites listed on EPA’s Superfund and RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act clean up website. Not one of them was caused by oil and gas development. Gowanus and Love Canals happened because of unregulated industrial waste disposal, not because of oil and gas development.
To be sure, environmental risks associated with development are not zero, but they are worth taking...