Fracking fight starts between neighbors
The fracking has started! By that I mean it has pitted neighbor against neighbor. But the first real fracking will occur long before the first wells are drilled.
Land coalitions promise to negotiate lucrative -- and environmentally sound -- leases for their members. When, and if, the price of natural gas rises, my bet is that the gas companies will first frack these coalitions.
Desperate members will defect from these coalitions at the first scent of money. The companies will make deals with individuals rather than coalitions. Many people have already shown their willingness to sign the first lease that comes along.
If you are relying on a coalition to protect your land and your town, you are sorely mistaken. These companies did not seek and obtain exemptions from the Clean Air and Water Act for nothing. If you believe the woefully understaffed DEC will watch over your interests, then why are these exemptions necessary?
Every other industry is subjected to these laws. And why does the oil and gas industry have exemptions from traffic safety rules? The industry's fatality rate is seven times the national average because workers are pressured into working longer hours than most other industries allow. The National Traffic and Safety Board has strongly condemned these exemptions.
So the fracking has started, and towns better prepare using moratoriums or bans as their residents see fit. These companies, with their absurd exemptions, will get the cheapest leased land they can and cut all the corners they can get away with.
They should be able to get away with a lot given that they have their own special rules!