Oct 12, 2010 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Otisco Lake Preservation Association President Anita Williams reports that last night, the Otisco Town Board moved to draft a hydrofracking moratorium to be heard by the public and put to vote. Moratoriums on the controversial gas drilling procedure have already been passed in the towns of Onondaga, DeWitt, Tully, Marcellus, Camillus and Skaneateles, and in Onondaga County.
According to a United States Geological Survey conducted in 2009, The Chesapeake Energy Corporation estimated in 2008 that more than 363 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas could be extracted from the Marcellus Shale — the United States uses 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. The economic appeal of drilling into the shale is thus impossible to ignore, and property owners are seeking to profit from the gas beneath their feet.
In a letter presented to the Otisco Town Board on Monday, Williams stressed that “there are already 170 signed leases in the Otisco Lake watershed and well over 100 in Skaneateles.” This is troubling to OLPA, and other opponents of hydrofracking, who point to examples where the drilling procedure – which involves shooting millions of gallons of chemically-charged water into shale until it cracks and the gas is released – has derailed and caused serious health and environment hazards to communities.
“We feel if we are able to slow down the process it could give us time to develop better technology if we must drill and stronger regulations that will prevent drilling in/near our watersheds,” wrote Williams in a letter presented to the Otisco Town Board Monday.
Joe Flynn, of Camillus, also took a stand against hyrdrofracking, writing that the process would result in the “industrialization of our rural landscape.”
In his letter to the board, he asked if the town of Otisco could sustain the kind of truck traffic required to transport thousands of truck loads of fresh water to a well site, before expressing concern over what would be done with “flowback fluids.”
“Once the well has been fractured and the “flowback fluids” are withdrawn from the well they are usually stored in a lagoon or pit at the well site rather than being removed and reclaimed,” he wrote. “The flowback fluids contain fracturing chemicals, naturally occurring chlorides, heavy metals, radioactive materials, and water that is six times saltier than sea water.”
This raises the question, Flynn continued, “Will the flowback fluid lagoons result in the property being designated as a ‘brown field’ site?”
The Camillus Town Board voted into law a ban on horizontal drilling in the town following three public hearings last spring. Flynn, who worked with the town on the ban, urged that Otisco follow suit.
“If not a ban on hydrofracking, then vote for at least a six month moratorium to allow time to study the effects of hydrofracking and determine possible solutions to resulting problems.”
The town of Marcellus passed a six month moratorium on horizontal drilling in early September.