Was Andrew Cuomo’s NY Fracking “Sacrifice Zone” Plan Hatched by NRDC?

Was Andrew Cuomo’s NY Fracking “Sacrifice Zone” Plan Hatched by NRDC? by Steve Horn, June 14, 2012, desmogblog
The New York Times reported yesterday, via an unidentified insider at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), that Cuomo intends to “limit [shale gas] drilling to the deepest areas of the Marcellus Shale rock formation, at least for the next several years, in an effort to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination.” … These counties, it turns out, are not only “struggling,” as The Times describes them, but in destitute levels of poverty. Two of the counties up for grabs for fracking include Steuben and Chemung, which, according to New York Department of Labor statistics, have unemployment rates hovering around 10 percent, among the highest in the state. Support for dangerous industrial development is certainly much easier to garner during times of economic desperation. … In other words, it’s far easier to sell a rotten bill of goods (or in this case, contaminated water and air) to those mired in poverty. Is New York setting up to repeat this tragic cycle? Tom Wilber, author of the recently published book Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale and author of the blog Shale Gas Review, picked up on the fact that a “sacrifice zone”-type plan was originally hatched by the NRDC. He explained that this plan was described by the NRDC as one that could limit fracking in New York state to “geographically limited areas”: As part of that review, the NRDC memo asked regulators to consider a three-year demonstration project in several “geographically limited areas.” Depending on the outcome, the state could then decide whether to “advance further a broader HVHF (High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing) program.” The memo was signed by NRDC senior attorneys Eric Goldstein and Kate Sinding, and consultant Craig Michaels. … “Within five years, you’ll start to see these chemicals show up in the water system,” said Ramsay Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. Time will tell how the Cuomo administration actually proceeds, but the early indications are painting a dark picture of what may be in store for New York’s water and health.

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