Local activists plan to fight hydrofracking

(WKTV) - Local activists say they will fight the controversial form of natural gas drilling called 'hydrofracking' from being allowed in New York State until the bitter end.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced on Friday the controversial method of drilling for natural gas can be done safelywith proper precautions and named an advisory panel including top environmentalists.

Martens' comments Friday come a day after his agency outlined recommendations to permit hydraulic fracturing in most of the state's Marcellus Shale formation. He says no permits will be issued until after public comments, further review and final regulations, probably in late fall or early winter.

The DEC would prohibit "hydrofracking" in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The technology extracts natural gas from shale by pumping water, chemicals and sand into the ground to create fissures in the rock and release the gas.

We have been getting calls from area residents who are outraged over the possibility this form of drilling may be allowed here in New York State.

Tom Catterson of Clinton says he will become very active in this fight against hydrofracking. Catterson is quite concerned his well water may end up getting contaminated if any of his neighbors decide to sell the right to drill for natural gas on their property to a natural gas company.

Catterson sais, "The issue is whether they know how to control the environmental impacts of this deep, horizontal, hydrofracking that goes down into out of sight, out of mind, 2000 to 4000 feet below the surface, who knows what's going on, how do they know they're mitigating the impact?"

Hydrofracking activists are popping up all over the Mohawk Valley. Patricia Powers of South Utica says she has fought for causes in the past, but this one may be at the top of her alltime list.

Powers says, "It's a no-brainer to a lot of us, when you learn about hydrofracking, that you don't mess with it, you just don't mess with the water."

Powers wants to urge people all over Central New York who are against hydrofracking to contact the Governor's office as well as their local state representatives. She adds, "My mother taught me from a little girl to respect the earth and I guess this is where it begins."

Powers and Catterson both believe with their voices, and the thousands of others from around the state against hydrofracking they can stop the process before it ever gets final approval. Powers adds, "this is the only way we'll be able to stop it, through grass roots change."

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