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Hydraulic fracturing has solid safety record

Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant got a number of things wrong on hydraulic fracturing in a recent letter.

Chief among these errors is her claim that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing have harmed groundwater. In fact, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson and current administrator Gina McCarthy (among other subject matter experts) have stated that there is no evidence to support that hydraulic fracturing has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.

Grant also claims to know that the natural gas industry refuses to disclose the names of these products. Here she is spreading a popular urban myth often shared by organizations like Food & Water Watch. In New York, operators are required to disclose which chemicals are used in each drill site. Operators may also submit this information to a searchable nationwide website called fracfocus.org. This combination of strict regulation and voluntary compliance is a very powerful demonstration of accountability.

The process of hydraulic fracturing has compiled a 65-year record of safety, something to which New York agencies have attested. As the Department of Environmental Conservation stated, “No known instances of groundwater contamination have occurred from previous horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing projects in New York State.”

Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Dakota are successfully developing their shale resources. Erie County, along with the rest of New York State, would benefit greatly from the jobs and economic growth shale development would bring.

Brad Gill

Executive Director, Independent Oil

and Gas Association of New York

Hamburg