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Governor must protect citizens from fracking

At the end of July, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, called on the Environmental Protection Agency to improve its oversight of water contamination and seismic activity associated with fracking for oil and natural gas.

It’s no surprise to those of us who have followed fracking that it has contaminated water and caused earthquakes in states where it is already occurring.

According to the GAO, a minimum of 2 billion gallons of fluids are injected into over 172,000 wells to frack or to dispose of fracking fluids, and because much of the population relies on underground sources for drinking water, there are serious concerns about the safety of our nation’s drinking water.

The concern over underground water sources only increases when taking into consideration that the oil and gas industry itself reports that five percent of well casings fail immediately and failure rates rise steeply over time.

Statistics show that six to seven percent of new wells drilled in Pennsylvania over the past three years suffer from compromised structural integrity or outright well casing failures. The GAO is saying what New Yorkers have known for years: fracking could put our water sources at risk.

A recent Siena poll found that a majority of residents in the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley are opposed to fracking in New York.

Those who sit atop most of the Marcellus Shale, who would be most directly affected by fracking, understand its harmful effects. No one wants their water poisoned by fracking.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo must realize that opening New York to fracking means a serious threat to our water security and health, and the only solution is a statewide ban to protect us from the inherent dangers of this toxic drilling practice.

Joseph A. Chamberlain

Buffalo