While public opinion is fairly skewed against the fracking process, policy actors in New York State can best be described as polarized. Predictably, the pro-fracking group generally disagrees with environmental groups while the anti-fracking group generally disagrees with the oil industry. Policy actors in New York had stark differences in answers on a wide variety of questions.
Ten years ago, hydraulic fracturing barely existed. Today 45,000 fracked wells produce natural gas, providing energy for millions of homes and businesses, and nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity. But scientists are far behind in understanding how this boom affects people near wells. Geochemists Beizhan Yan and James Ross of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are trying to fill in this gap.
What are the implications of hydraulic fracturing on agriculture and food security? In agricultural areas with widespread, ongoing hydrofracking, there have been incidences of livestock poisoning from contaminated surface water sources or grasses, and soil contamination from explosions, spills, flares, irresponsible fracking-wastewater treatment, and leaky gas pipes.
Earthquakes that have shaken an area just outside Youngstown, Ohio, in the last nine months are likely linked to a disposal well for injecting wastewater used in the hydraulic fracturing process, say LDEO seismologists.
An article in the New York Times has prompted debate over the effects of hydrofracking, a means of obtaining natural gas, on drinking water supplies.