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MYD Environmental Committee: Ban Gas Drilling

MYD Environmental Committee: Ban Gas Drilling

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Published by gomyd
Manhattan Young Democrats (http://gomyd.com) Environmental Committee's 2009 policy paper on gas drilling in New York.
Manhattan Young Democrats (http://gomyd.com) Environmental Committee's 2009 policy paper on gas drilling in New York.

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Published by: gomyd on Aug 23, 2010
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08/23/2010

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Environmental Committee Policy Paper:Ban or Severely Restrict Natural Gas Drilling near the NYCWatershedExecutive Summary
 The Environmental Committee of the Manhattan Young Democrats(MYD) opposes natural gas drilling within or near any of New YorkCity's drinking water supplies and calls for a ban or severe restrictionson such practices in watershed areas. Such bans and restrictionsshould apply to local watersheds and ground water sources all over thestate, but especially local reservoirs and wells where New Yorkers gettheir tap water including the Catskill Mountains west of the HudsonRiver, which provides ninety percent of the drinking water for over ninemillion New Yorkers.
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 Gas drilling in NY watersheds and nearby aquifers, even with thehighest level of safeguards, puts clean, pure drinking water at severerisk of contamination and, as such, is environmentally andeconomically unsustainable. In addition, environmental advocatesargue that gas drilling within the New York City watershed will placethat water supply's federal exemption from filtering in jeopardy,putting the taxpayers of New York City in the position of having to payup to $10 - $20 billion for a filtration plant that may not even be ableto remove all contaminants.
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That is roughly the amount the stateestimated it would earn from gas development over the next decade.
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As a result, NYS will not even receive the economic benefits that thisproject claims.
Position Statement
 The MYD Environmental Committee is advocating for the protection of New York City's drinking water by banning or severely restrictingnatural gas drilling in or within contaminating distance of any of New York's surface or underground water supplies. If a complete ban is notdeemed possible, rigorous regulation of the current practices of thegas drilling industry must be instituted that will keep New York'sdrinking water clean, safe, and affordable.Action Steps:i.Advocate for a natural gas drilling ban in NYC watershedsii.Identify viable alternatives such as:
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Restrictions on the size of drilling sites
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 The institution of permits
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New York City Department of Environmental Protection
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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Requirements for permit holders to test groundwater priorto and after drilling wells
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Green practices, including the use of non-toxic materialsand technologiesiii.Discuss with elected officials and candidates to introducelegislations to implement these alternativesiv.Educate the public about this issue and motivate it to monitorthis issue aggressivelyv.Align with other NYC environmental organizations to monitor thisissue
Background
Ninety percent of New York City’s drinking water comes from a pristinemillion-acre watershed in the Catskill Mountains.
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It is the largest unfiltered drinking water supply in the UnitedStates
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and New York is one of just four major cities in the U.S.with a special permit from the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) allowing its drinking water to go unfiltered as a network of reservoirs and rivers in five upstate counties ensures that ourwater is naturally pristine.
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If this exemption is lost because the watershed area has becomecontaminated, the estimated cost of the required processingplant would be near $10 billion, with an annual maintenance feeexceeding $100 million to be footed by the New York City taxpayer.
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Marcellus Shale
 The Catskills Watershed sits atop the Marcellus Shale, a methane richsheet formation that lies under much of northern Appalachia 6,000 to8,000 feet below the surface.
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Geologists estimate that the pores inthe entire shale contain between 168 trillion and 516 trillion cubic feetof natural gas.
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Although geologists have long known about thenatural gas resources of the Marcellus Shale formation, the depth andtightness of the shale made gas exploration and extraction verydifficult and expensive. Interest has increased significantly of late dueto soaring energy prices and recent enhancements to gas welldevelopment technology, specifically horizontal drilling and hydraulicfracturing.
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http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090525_clean_energy_and_poisoned_water/
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http://www.catskillmountainkeeper.org/node/290
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http://www.pwconserve.org/issues/watersheds/newyorkcity/index.html
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http://www.catskillmountainkeeper.org/node/290
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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” involves injecting water mixed withresin-coated sand and a cocktail of hazardous chemicals (includinghydrochloric acid, nitrogen, biocides, surfactants, friction reducers, andbenzene) into shale at extremely high pressure, separating rockfissures and allowing the gas to flow out of the drill bore while the sandholds the cracks open.
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Because Marcellus Shale formations are sodeep, millions of gallons of water are required and subsequentlymillions of gallons of contaminated water are produced. While much of the contamination comes from naturally occurring chlorides, heavymetals, and radioactivity, tens of thousands of gallons of industrialchemicals that make up the “frac” fluids remain in the ground andneed remediation.
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If hydraulic fracturing stimulation must take place, it is technologicallyfeasible to use non-toxic “delivery systems” and plain water basedalternatives in the process, such as those already being used by theoffshore oil and gas industry.
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According to the EPA, "Water-basedalternatives exist and from an environmental perspective, these water-based products are preferable."
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These federally regulated offshorepractices are necessary to protect marine organisms and must beextended to onshore drilling and fracking to protect our drinking watersupplies.
Environmental Impact
A 2002 draft of an EPA study on hydraulic fracturing stated that:
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Nine hazardous chemicals were found in the fluids injectedunderground at levels that exceed national water qualitystandards.
 
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 These chemicals have known negative health effects such asrespiratory, neurological and reproductive impacts, impacts onthe central nervous system, and various types of cancer.
 
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About sixty percent of this toxic water is left underground. Therest is stored in huge, open pits that dot the landscapes at
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Shaleshock Citizens Action Alliance
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Including
benzene, phenanthrenes, naphthalene, 1-methlnaphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, fluorenes, aromatics, ethylene glycol, and methanol.
 
CAN YOUPLEASE PUT THE SOURCE HERE?
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