Fracking ban was a start, but more must be done

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision last month to ban fracking in New York state was a holiday present welc

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision last month to ban fracking in New York state was a holiday present welcomed by the thousands of citizen activists in our state, and his advisers (the heads of the environment and health departments) had clearly considered the past, present and future consequences of this dangerous and toxic extractive practice.

Thank you, gentlemen, for your wisdom.

There are those who decry this decision on the basis of jobs and profits, but those spurious promises were outweighed by a far more vital concern: the preservation of air, water and soil. When those fundamental requirements for life are poisoned, you can’t eat the money.

Now it’s time to address the further attacks on these basic elements of life in our state.

It is well-known to those paying attention that waste from fracking in Pennsylvania and other states is being dumped in New York. This must stop. How it has been overlooked so long is a shocking mystery.

But a simple investigation of the industry’s own website will give all the information needed as to what, where, when and how much is being dumped, violating our precious land, air and water.

This outrage, inexplicably absent from other media, has been documented in this newspaper since March 2013.

Allowing trains to transport tar sands oil to Albany to be sent to ports for refining and sale to overseas buyers also must stop. We know very well how long this has been going on, who is doing it, and why.

If New York is protecting its citizens by banning fracking, why on Earth are we allowing other states (and countries) to dump their waste and transport their hazardous oil across our land? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Pipelines are still being planned to carry these fuels, often to coastal ports for sale on the international markets, not for use in America. So much for preserving our national energy independence. There is more money to be made from China, and they have the cash to pay.

Pipelines are as unsafe as fracking and dangerous oil trains, and must be stopped.

The current oil prices (at this writing, under $50 a barrel) are causing chaos in the world stock and energy markets, shaking currencies, making political systems tremble, and, much like the earthquakes fracking has caused in places where there never were any, threaten to upend whole economies and nations.

Railroad stocks are falling, as are oil stocks that were built on a Ponzi scheme of investors paying for an extraction method that costs more to get the fuel than the fuel can be sold for. The long-denied “peak oil” shortages, making for more invasive methods of extraction, are crashing together like a perfect storm for the fossil fuel companies.

And we’ve not even mentioned global climate change and weather intensification, clearly being exacerbated by these practices.

When economists say that shale plays are not sustainable when the price of oil is below even $73 a barrel, they have been ignored. Pipelines are still being planned, even though steel companies are cutting back on their production of pipe. What does it take to tell these companies to stop?

Far from putting New York at an economic “disadvantage” by banning fracking, this decision has put our state at the forefront of a national movement to stop this insanity.

When will California’s Gov. Jerry Brown (the son of a previous governor) figure out that there is a connection between his state’s droughts in one of our nation’s agricultural treasures and the use of its groundwater to frack?

Citizens of Los Angeles are limited to 50 gallons of water a day each for cooking and washing, yet every frack uses over 1 million gallons of fresh water. Duh. Why haven’t Californians risen up to object? One might well ask that question.

Thank you, Gov. Cuomo, for preserving our food, our lives and our future. We are grateful. Now look at the dumping, the pipelines and the railway transport of tar sands oil.

We’re not done yet.

Karen Cookson lives on a certified organic farm in Sharon Springs and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Gazette Opinion page.

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