Fracking: A Preemptive Ban

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A bill to ban fracking in Massachusetts has gained the support of more 20 state legislators, including, from Western Massachusetts, Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Peter Kocot (D-Northampton) and John Scibak (D-South Hadley). Also backing the bill, H707, is Lori Ehrlich, the representative from Marblehead who has filed a bill to organize and speed up the process of repairing gas line leaks in the state (see “A Bomb Under Our Streets,” December 6, 2012).

The Massachusetts Geological Society has pointed out that the layers of natural gas-bearing shale that run north and south through the Pioneer Valley are not continuous, and that given current prices and technology, it’s not likely that any company would find it profitable to extract gas from this region. But fracking opponents’ fears have been reinforced by statements made at a conference a natural gas industry group held at UMass in December. At that meeting, Andrew Stone, executive director of the American Ground Water Trust, said that gas extraction on a small scale could occur here in the future, and that landowners and towns “need to be ready for it.”

It’s important, opponents say, to get laws in place in advance to deter fracking.

Meanwhile the Beat Back Fracking campaign is planning a public meeting for May 23 at the Westfield Public Library to discuss a natural gas-fired power facility proposed by Pioneer Valley Energy Center. In yet another example of the conflict between energy development and water supply needs in the U.S., the plant is expected to draw 2 million gallons of water per day from Holyoke’s Tighe-Carmody Reservoir in Southampton.•

Comments (4)
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Ban the fracking now. Take it from someone who lives in Pennsylvania.

Posted by Dory on 3.12.13 at 13:33

You do know that the director of Gasland admitted that methane was present prior to fracking in the town documented?

Do you know that an EPA chief testified to congress that there is no proof that fracking is dangerous?

Do you know that regulators have stated that reports of fracking dangers are way overblown?

Here's the point for readers of the Advocate: Do your own independent research of issues. Don't accept spoon-fed left wing propoganda at face value.

Posted by Ben on 3.14.13 at 6:44

A story with links to studies showing opposition to fracking is hugely misinformed.

Posted by Ben on 3.20.13 at 8:39

*Survey. They're called the Massachusetts Geological Survey-- they're a non-partisan state agency, even. I imagine you guys don't really have copy editors or fact checkers at the Advocate and that there's essentially no par, but, come on, at least do a google search to get names right if you want your journalism to be taken seriously.

And, if you were at the conference (I was, for what it's worth), the talks by scientists speaking after a highly chagrined Andrew Stone, including USGS scientists who published the original Summer `12 report, all went into explicit detail in their talks about how, no, fracking in the Valley is so unlikely as to be a non-issue.

It's great that people are getting involved in local politics to enable legislation for change they want to see-- but, umm, aren't there more immediate threats that such energy and activism could be devoted to? Like the emerald ash borer and spread of the asian longhorn beetle due to climate change? Pre-emptive response to tropical storms hitting Boston and/or flooding rivers in the Valley because we have outdated infrastructure? Or what about that crumbling Nuke plant being operated at twice design capacity over the border?

Posted by anonymousgeologist on 4.3.13 at 21:33



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