We can't allow hydro-fracking in our area, says local student

In today's society, people are eager to find new energy sources. We want something better for the environment and something that can be produced in the U.S. You might not know that a source like this actually exists locally. There is a natural gas reserve buried under many layers of rock across central New York and through Pennsylvania and Ohio. At first this sounds like a great solution to energy problems, until you learn about the risky process of extracting the gas.

The process used is called horizontal hydraulic fracturing or hydro-fracking. The gas is in tiny pores in the rocks, like holes in Swiss cheese, so the rock needs to be broken up for the gas to be released. To do this, millions of gallons of water filled with harsh chemicals are being injected into the rocks under extreme pressure to cause the fracturing. This process can cause problems that affect your water supply and damage your health. The first problem that can occur is that the water with the chemicals, known as fracking fluid, could get into your water supply. This would ruin the water and could make you sick. Gas could also leak into the water supply. The gas is highly flammable and there have been reports of homeowners in Pennsylvania whose tap water ignited. In Dimock, Penn., a water well that belonged to a woman named Norma Fiorentino exploded because of this problem. Other reports include a house in Ohio that also exploded when the gas leaked into the basement. Another issue caused by hydro-fracking is that since millions of gallons of water are used per well, tons of clean water is being taken from the environment and turned into toxic waste.

Oil and gas companies want to use hydro-fracking throughout the southern tier of New York. Landowners also want to lease their land to the companies to make money. More than half of Tompkins County has already been leased. To stop hydro-fracking, you can encourage government officials to create laws against it. You can also publicize the negative effects of the process so that landowners won't want to lease their land.

We cannot let hydro-fracking occur in our local area. If problems caused by it are already happening while it's still small-scale, can you imagine what would happen if it becomes wider spread? It's a disaster waiting to happen!

Claire Chanatry is a sophomore at Cazenovia High School.

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