Democracy Now! Hosts Heated Fracking Debate
Is Fracking Safe? Debate on Controversial Natural Gas Drilling Technique as NY Moratorium May Expire
Democracy Now! has done a great job putting together this high-profile debate January 4th, 2013. It’s a must-watch, and it heats up the debate now that a new study shows a 9% methane leakage rate from shale gas drilling. Mayor Ryan of Binghamton is a real 21st century mayor, joined by Riverkeeper in going toe to toe with smooth-talking fracking promoters.
Below is the Dem Now! description. You’ll see Protecting Our Waters among the activist groups profiled in their photos.
The controversial use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” that is behind the country’s natural gas boom has come under scrutiny in the new Hollywood drama, Promised Land, and met stiff resistance in New York state, where a four-year moratorium against the process could soon expire. Supporters say fracking is essential to U.S. energy independence, a way to revitalize depressed rural areas with new mining jobs and gas projects. But opponents warn that hundreds of millions of gallons of chemically treated water used in the process will pollute drinking water supplies and agricultural fields. New research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado say methane — a potent greenhouse gas — may be escaping from gas sites at much higher rates than previously thought. To dive into this firestorm of debate, today we host a debate with two supporters of fracking and two opponents.
We are joined by Kate Hudson, Watershed Program director at Riverkeeper, New York’s clean water advocate; Phelim McAleer, a filmmaker who produced a pro-fracking documentary called FrackNation; Daniel Simmons, director of state of regulatory affairs at the Institute for Energy Research; and Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, New York, who is a former professor of environmental law and outspoken opponent of fracking.
Democracy Now! perhaps could use some perspective straight from Pennsylvania to describe the impacts here — the hard numbers; the 7.2% well failure rate, the 12 environmental violations per day at Marcellus Shale sites, the health impacts, dead animals, and more. We could help get across that it’s not just the horizontal fracturing stage that’s the problem: it’s the aggregate realities of shale gas drilling. We could also describe the increasing resistance to infrastructure projects from compressor stations and pipelines to injection (“deep disposal”) wells and fracked gas power plants. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, please share widely: