Sunday, December 04, 2011

Fracking companies lie about leases: homeowners

The excellent non-profit journalism site Pro Publica has done some fantastic journalism about hydrofracking, the hugely controversial natural gas extraction process that is being hotly debated in New York state. Proponents say that it will be a jobs boom in a region that badly needs it. Opponents offer many criticisms, including that the process poisons drinking water. Another site offering good information on fracking is The Rural Blog of the University of Kentucky.

The blog offers statistics that amplify a fear of fracking opponents. Drilling is regulated by many states, but very ineffectively. It notes that in Texas, 96 percent of the tens of thousands of regulatory violations in 2009 resulted in no enforcement action. West Virginia, Wyoming and fracking hotbed Pennsylvania were also cited for their uselessness in protecting citizens from drilling pollution.

The blog also links to a New York Times article which cites the negative experience of homeowners who signed leases with gas companies.

The NYT added that disappointed landowners in Pennsylvania, Colorado and West Virginia have spent hundreds of dollars monthly on bottled water or maintaining large tanks of drinking water in their front lawns. Thousands of landowners in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas, who claim "they were paid less than they expected because gas companies deducted costs like hauling chemicals to the well site or transporting gas to market," have responded by joining a class action lawsuit.

The site also offered some useful advice to Republicans in southern New York like powerful state Sen. Tom Libous who are enamored with drilling, regardless of the consequences: sustainable agriculture could improve health, economy for rural areas... presumably without poisoned drinking water.

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