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NEW YORK (November 1st, 2012) – Critics of fracking for natural gas say future “superstorms” like Sandy could wreak havoc at drilling sites if New York approves the controversial procedure. Many climate experts say the forecast is for more frequent and more severe weather events like the one that hammered the eastern U.S. recently.
At drilling sites, that could lead to man-made pools of chemical-filled waste water overflowing, fuel tanks spilling, and other polluting mishaps, according to Deborah Goldberg with Earthjustice.
“We may need to see extra measures to ensure that, if there is a storm like this, we don’t see barrels of diesel fuel floating down our communities.”
An industry spokesman says in Pennsylvania, where fracking is under way, no accidents or injuries have been reported so far in the wake of Sandy, nor after two big storms last year.
Goldberg says if a storm like Sandy, which did enormous, as-yet-uncalculated damage across many states, teaches anything it is that fracking sites have to be prepared for the unexpected.
“There are chemicals stored on site, there is fuel stored on site. All of that, obviously, can be easily lifted up and carried by water long distances.”
Jim Smith of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York says environmentalists are “capitalizing” on Sandy, and last year’s storms Irene and Lee to make misleading claims about possible pollution.
“Through the last three storms now we’ve gotten assurances that pollution has not occurred on these drill sites. So the claim – they can continue to make the claim, but the facts prove the opposite.”
Support for fracking inched up slightly in the latest poll taken by Siena College. A small plurality of those surveyed favored moving ahead with fracking in some parts of upstate New York by 42 percent to 36 percent.