Having a Say on Fracking

By Jeffrey Page

Correction to this column: When the Warwick Town Board meets on Jan. 24, it is expected to consider the language of an outright ban, or restrictions, on hydrofracking for natural gas in the town. The board’s formal vote on the matter likely will be on Feb. 14.

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Late in 1964 The New York Times ran a story with this insanely dispassionate lede paragraph:

“The idea of using hydrogen bombs to clear a site for a jetport in northern New Jersey was rejected by a private consulting concern today.”

It sounds like a bad joke, but some geniuses at the Port Authority had to be informed by an expert that nuking parts of Sussex, Passaic, and Morris Counties to make way for a fourth metropolitan area airport was not such a great idea.

Now, 48 years later there’s another joke that’s not funny. The set-up is that New York might allow industry to use a process called hydrofracking to find and extract natural gas from underground rock formations. This at a time when fracking’s safety is questionable. As a result, several towns and counties have been adopting antifracking ordinances to ban the practice within their borders.

The Warwick Town Board is scheduled to vote on such a ban later this month. Read on, and if you wish to inform the board of your support of the proposed fracking ban you’ll find a link to a petition that was assembled by the community-based Sustainable Warwick organization.

Proponents say fracking is safe even though it requires tremendous amounts of fresh water that might otherwise be used in farming and for human consumption. Additionally, there does not seem to be any coherent answer when you ask what happens to all that water, which becomes polluted when used in the fracking process. Where does it go? No sensible industry response to this.

And oh yes, fracking also employs various carcinogenic chemicals.

The natural gas industry informs anyone who’ll listen that fracking is about as safe as cookies and milk.

That rosy determination smacks against one by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which declared: “Significant adverse impacts to habitats, wildlife, and biodiversity from site disturbance associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the area underlain by the Marcellus Shale in New York will be unavoidable.”

–Fact: An indisputable circumstance of nature, physiology, and the human condition is that we can survive without gas. But we can’t survive without water and air. Simple as that.

–Fact: Substances that cause cancer do us no good.

–Fact: The Warwick Town Board convenes Jan. 24 to vote on the proposed fracking ban.

For more information about fracking, take a look at Sustainable Warwick’s web site.

If you’d like to inform the Town Board about your concerns and/or worries regarding fracturing in this bucolic municipality and that you want the proposed ban enacted into local law, you can do so by signing Sustainable Warwick’s petition. (Note that you should sign the petition only if you’re a resident, business owner or taxpayer of the Town of Warwick or of the villages of Warwick, Florida or Greenwood Lake, and if you are age 18 or older.)


4 Responses to “Having a Say on Fracking”

  1. Emily Theroux Says:

    Amen, brother! No fracking way! (I wish I could vote in Warwick.)

  2. Steve Carras Says:

    The current issue of Zest of Orange states as a fact the Warwick Town Board is scheduled to hold a vote on fracking on 1/24. In fact, the Board is not scheduled to vote on this issue. The Town Board may entertain such a vote but by no means is it required to do so. By presenting overwhelming support for such a ban the residents of Warwick have the opportunity to urge the Board to so act. I personally hope they do, but the Board can also “pocket veto” the issue by sitting on their hands – as they have done with other issues. Please come out on 1/24 and voice your support.


    Steven Carras

  3. Russ Layne Says:

    Well spoken, Jeff. How many times have we been told by the oil industry that drilling is safe? I’m sure the families of the 11 men lost in the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico see things differently. And now we’re being asked to trust the natural gas industry with hydrofracking? Not me! I, too, urge all to sign the petition.


  4. Randy Hurst Says:

    Well, I couldn’t agree more with everything you said, Jeff. I live in Wawayanda. I wish the Wawayanda Town Board was one tenth as enlightened as those in Warwick, and yet, you wonder. Will the Warwick Republicans evidence even a shred of courage and wisdom to do the “best” for their constituents. Could the residents of Waywayanda, Goshen, Minisink and elsewhere, Orange County even as a whole, Eddie Diana, show some leadership and lead the charge to protect our water, our air, our land, our lives. I don’t think so. Sadly. Oh, how I wish I could be mistaken.

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