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Is hydrofracking on the horizon in Cazenovia?

A drill rig near the town of Pinedale, Wyo. With approximately 3570 acres under lease with gas companies in the Town of Cazenovia, this could become a familiar sight for area residents.

A drill rig near the town of Pinedale, Wyo. With approximately 3570 acres under lease with gas companies in the Town of Cazenovia, this could become a familiar sight for area residents. Abrahm Lustgarten/ProPublica

The oil and gas industry disputes hydrofracking’s negative environmental impact and cites job creation as evidence that the method is economically viable.

Due to controversy centering on the safety of hydrofracking, the state placed a moratorium on the new gas extraction method in August 2010. A year-and-a-half later it is not clear whether hydrofracking will be legal in the state.

The drilling moratorium is still in place, and the DEC is currently sorting through 40,000 public comments submitted on their most recent draft for hydrofracking permit regulations.

Though conventional gas extraction has been utilized in Madison County for decades, there are substantial differences between the old methods and unconventional gas extraction, i.e. hydrofracking.

With conventional gas extraction, a well is drilled directly into a pocket of gas. The conventional process requires a fraction of the water, chemicals and environmental impacts that are inherent to hydrofracking.

Unconventional gas extraction, hydrofracking, has never been utilized in Madison County. Hydrofracking combines horizontal well drilling and hydraulic rock fracturing to create underground pathways. The pathways, or fractures, allow natural gas to escape from the shale and flow into the gas well.

To gain perspective on what this process could look like in Madison County, look at information about Marcellus Shale hydrofracking. According to Holko, the Utica Shale hydrofracking in Ohio closely mirrors Marcellus Shale gas extraction.

According to the Paleontological Research Institution’s Marcellus Shale Team, each hydrofracking well requires on average 4.3 million gallons of water and between 43,000 and 86,000 gallons of chemicals.

Of fluids injected into the well, 430,000 gallons flows back to the surface, and the remaining fluid stays underground.

At a distance of 500 feet the hydraulic fracturing process is about as loud as a blender or lawnmower – 84 decibels.

According to IOGANY, wells require trucks to make an average of 1,979 round-trip s to become established. A productive well will be hydrofracked several times.

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