We’ve been talking a lot about fracking recently, particularly with the release of Promised Land – Matt Damon’s direct, albeit fictional, confrontation of the fracking debate on film. Energy conversations are likely to continue to heat up in the coming months, especially with Obama’s inaugural promise that climate change and energy will be a priority during his second term. So, what’s been going on in the fracking world?
In New York, the debate over whether or not to lift a ban on hydraulic fracturing continues – and may continue indefinitely. New York is stating now that there is no timeline for the decision, which is particularly interesting considering that poll data suggests New Yorkers are split almost 50/50 over whether or not to lift the ban. Why is this state such a big deal? Well, New York City is known around the world for having “the champagne of tap water.” The Big Apple has never filtered their tap water, and being forced to do so would result in a major infrastructure overhaul. Considering that the water comes from 19 separate reservoirs upstate, even New Yorkers that don’t live in drilling areas have good reason to be tuned into this debate.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, residents are starting to fight back against expanded drilling on public lands for natural gas. Part of Obama’s expanded domestic energy plan (yes), over 100,000 acres are being auctioned off for lease in the upcoming weeks. Residents are particularly resentful of the fact that companies leasing land will have no obligation to residents of surrounding areas that might be impacted by drilling.
Finally, HuffingtonPost has collected reactions from residents of Pennsylvania, one of the first states to widely allow natural gas exploration and drilling. They run the gamut from those who applaud the economic boon of natural gas to those who openly regret the impacts of drilling on their towns and lands. You can read the full compilation, which as assembled in response to Damon’s Promised Land, here.
Concerned about fracking in your area? I shared this a while back, but Slate compiled this tool which lets you look up fracking regulations in your state – and if you have a strong opinion, this is the first step to getting involved.