The Marcellus Shale (Image from New York Times)
There’s an incredible video posted at the website of Toxic Targeting, an environmental watchdog group that maps toxic sites on a lot-by-lot basis. The video shows a man lighting his tap water on fire. The water, and the tap, belong to a disabled Vietnam veteran who has lived in his Candor, New York home since 1962.
Naturally, he called in a complaint to the Department of Environmental Conservation. Unfortunately, the DEC did nothing. They didn’t send anyone out to investigate the problem. All they told the veteran was, “don’t drink the water.” Yeah, thanks. Not an issue.
The veteran lives above something called the Marcellus Shale, a formation few people know about, but which has a huge impact on their water and gas supplies. It’s basically a giant rock formation that extends from New York all the way down to Tennessee. Industry first became interested in the Marcellus Shale when scientists realized there was gas inside the pores of the rock.
Walter Hang, President of Toxic Targeting, explains in an interview today with Democracy Now, that a new process called “slick water hydrofracking” was developed to extract the gas. However, the extraction involves tremendous amounts of water, and it’s incredibly polluting. The water that comes out of the ground has toxic chemicals, petroleum compounds, and it’s actually radioactive.
Huge corporations like Chesapeake, Fortuna, Talisman, and Hess benefit from slick water hydrofracking, but the process is potentially polluting the drinking water of 15 million people, including 9 million New Yorkers.
With further Marcellus drilling planned, the full range of environmental consequences from this breed of drilling has yet to be seen.
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– Allison Kilkenny