Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Congrats, Buffalo!

Pennsylvania has the power, and is gathering the numbers needed to say to the industry, and the political powers that be: "Pennsylvania will not be the 'lab' the industry practices on to 'get it right', and the people of Pennsylvania will not be their 'lab rats' any longer! Pennsylvania does not belong to the gas industry, and it does not belong to the policiticians. It belongs to the people because this is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated and committed people to educate and change the minds of the many. Nothing is impossible!

Congrats, Buffalo!

Council votes to ban hydrofracking
By Brian Meyer
February 8, 2011, 2:57 PM

Hearing airs pleas for ban on 'fracking' in Buffalo
Opposition to 'fracking' affirmed by Common Council

Updated: February 8, 2011, 5:24 PM

The Common Council has voted to ban any form of natural gas extraction in Buffalo, including a controversial mining technique known as hydrofracking.

Ban supporters admit this afternoon's unanimous vote is largely symbolic, given the fact that no "fracking" projects have been proposed in Buffalo. But they insist the ban could be a catalyst in spurring similar actions in municipalities in New York, Pennsylvania and other states where gas-rich Marcellus Shale is located.

"We're hoping Southern Tier communities will do the same thing," said North representative Joseph Golombek Jr., the bill's lead sponsor. "This action shows that the lead city in the region is taking a lead role."

No known deposits of Marcellus Shale underlie Buffalo.

Fracking opponents claim the drilling process possesses significant environmental risks, including possible contamination of water tables. The State Legislature last year imposed a temporary ban on fracking through May 15, pending further study.

About 50 fracking opponents held a news conference following the Council vote. They praised lawmakers for making Buffalo for the first city in the state and only the second major city nationwide to impose such a ban. Last fall, Pittsburgh banned fracking.

Supporters of the initiative noted that Buffalo's ban would also apply to other potentially harmful forms of gas extraction.

On a related issue, the Council wants Buffalo Sewer Authority General Manager David P. Comerford to appear at a meeting next week to address fears that the authority might have accepted water from hydrofracking wells. An article published two weeks ago in ArtVoice raised the possibility that a company that operates such wells may have transported "frack water" to the city authority.

Comerford could not immediately be reached to comment. Council Majority Leader Richard A. Fontana, who sponsored the bill that calls for a Council review of the issue, noted that Comerford previously had stated that water is tested three times a year and that no fracking-related contaminants have been discovered in "runoff water" the authority accepted.

"We need to get all the facts," said Fontana, who represents the Lovejoy District. "This is about protecting our Great Lakes."

Fracking is a process that uses chemically treated water to help unlock natural gas in shale. In December, National Fuel said it "has no plans to pursue Marcellus Shale drilling in New York State."

The most controversial fracking is occurring in horizontal wells that are being drilled in Pennsylvania. The wells go down for about a mile, then turn at almost a 90 degree angle and continue for a half mile or more horizontally, through layers of Marcellus Shale.
Small business & nonprofit consultant

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