It's been over two years since the Log On line wrote about natural gas and the Great Lakes. The great gas rush has been underway in P A long enough now for neighboring New Yorkers to see there are definite downsides to this wonderful new “clean” home grown source of energy that is going to bring jobs and prosperity to upstate NY. At least that's what the gas industry says. There's potential for both Marcellus and Utica shale gas wells to be fracked here. And what to do with the millions of gallons of waste water from the fracking process? Huge quantities of water contaminated with brines, toxic and carcinogenic frack fluid chemicals, and low levels of radiation have got to go somewhere.
One bright idea is to drive hundreds of truckloads of it to the Niagara Falls municipal water treatment plant. The city would treat the water using its state of the art charcoal filtration system. Then it would be discharged into the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls, a rather run down de-industrialized place full of brown fields would receive badly needed income to supplement its local taxes on casinos. What would the rest of us living down stream receive?
According to Walter Hang, nothing too good. He is quoted in a news report from the Niagara Falls reporter that activated charcoal will NOT filter out many of the toxic compounds. It is inadequate. Mr Hang knows what he is talking about. He is founder of Toxics Targeting a consulting firm that tracks brown fields, waste disposal sites, and other concerns for real estate interests, legal affairs and for local governments.
A recent letter by the Council of Canadians addressed to the City of Niagara Fall's Municipal Water department calls for the city to scrap the plan. We already have sixteen nukes discharging the occasional bit of radioactivity into our lake. We certainly don't need more brines and radioactivity from fracking fluid no matter how carefully its “treated” by the city's facility. As others have pointed out repeatedly ( and generally to no avail) the effects of each individual action, gas well, power plant, city sewage discharge factory discharge, factory farm discharge etc etc are CUMULATIVE. And it's all going into our lake, source of drinking water for something like 8 million Canadians and a fair number of New Yorkers too including residents of Rochester, Oswego, and thousands of folks who live inland. One source I haven't verified says its about two million U.S. Water drinkers.
The Council of Canadians quite rightly points out that drinking water is a public trust and that the Great Lakes are viewed as a “global commons” and that the UN views access to safe drinking water as a basic human right. So what can we do to stop this particular proposed insanity?
Well, one small step would be to sign Mr. Hang's letter to the gov asking for an expansion of the draft environmental impact statement to cover little incidentals like what to do with all the zillions of gallons of dirty water. Right now that is not adequately covered. Another action would be to call the gov up and tell him no nada not now not ever should we be dumping frack water treated or otherwise in our Great Lake. Just don't. If NYC deserves clean water, so do ten million Lake Ontario water users. The Gov's phone no. is 518 474 8390.
Walter Hang has presented the issue clearly and succinctly in a video that you can find at this link below. He explains the regulatory process and that this is essentially right now a matter that the executive branch of the state and the DEC have influence on. They are the parties that matter. The Gov is elected and will respond to an outpouring of voter indignation. So the most important thing you can do after signing, phone etc is Tell Other People we don't want this crap in our drinking water! A good source of information on gas fracking is Toxic Targeting's website at www.toxicstargetting.com
Link to letter to the governor to sign below or go to Toxic Targetting's website and find it there. He says 1000 people signed in in one day last week. Let's keep it rolling!