The recent flood was the second record setting “100 Year Flood” in the past 5 years in the Southern Tier of NYS. Major flooding in this area will continue to be a major problem as the current cycle of global climate change continues to produce record setting amounts of annual rainfall. These circumstances will add significantly greater hazard to the already substantial dangers of Fracking in the Southern Tier.
There are several ways in which flooding impacts and compounds the problems of Fracking. With hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic radioactive contaminated Fracking fluid wastewater being drawn back up (through the water table) to the surface; flooding saturates the ground surface and carries away anything and everything in its path. Eventually everything carried by flood waters winds up in the watershed river systems, in the case of the Southern Tier; the Delaware and Susquehanna. These rivers are the source of drinking water for about 20 million people in several states. The uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) flow of contamination into this water supply is absolutely impossible to accept.
The idea of modifying existing treatment plant not capable of handling the contaminants of Fracking is an impractical approach. The uncontrollable flooding of the river systems forces water to back flow into treatment plants and results in untreated wastewater being both dumped into the river and forced back in municipal water systems. Adding untreated toxic wastewater to this mix is clearly unthinkable. There is currently no way of making radioactive wastewater safe, so any plan for building new treatment plants to handle Fracking waste is a non-starter, even if Big O & G were required to pay all costs.
Add to the wastewater problems, having millions of overweight trucks carrying toxic chemicals travelling on roads that frequently are damaged and weakened by the recurrent floods. Each and every village, city, town, county and state road that has been in any way affected by flooding needs to be inspected, then repaired or replaced, before NYS accepts a single Fracking permit application. Public official and citizen in all jurisdictions must consider if overweight vehicle carrying hazardous toxins should be allowed on any of their roads. If they are allowed, what sort of pre-use construction upgrades have to be done; at the users, not the public’s expense. If access to roads under their jurisdiction is allowed at all, they must consider; what sort of time; day; substance; and weight restrictions on certain roads must be required. Public officials also must create an ironclad way of having road users pre-pay in full for all the damage that will naturally occur when many overweight vehicles travel on roads not designed to handle such loads. Money strapped jurisdiction certainly don’t want to have to chase the Frackers and go to court over receiving the money required to completely mitigate all the environmental damage Fracking can cause, (if mitigation is even possible). And all this must be done before a single school bus is forced to share the road with Fracking trucks.
Governor Cuomo has said he wants to hear compelling scientific reasons way Fracking is unsafe. Unless he is a global climate change denier; the evidence is all around NYS and can’t be ignored. In light of the facts of the absolute uncontrollability of flooding in the Southern Tier; the hazards that Fracking creates in this situation stand as major reasons why Fracking, the way it currently done, should not be permitted in NYS. To issue permits allowing a Fracking process, which is virtually sure to result in contamination of the most critical natural resource required by the citizens of NYS’s Southern Tier and those Downstream, is unconscionable and indefensible public policy.