Monday, August 29, 2011

Editorial sides with Christie on fracking over Corbett

[Updated at 12:58 a.m.on 9/4/11 to include link to letter responding to Star-Ledger editorial]

The Express-Times
, a daily newspaper located in Easton, PA, which also covers Garden State news and issues for readers in Warren County, NJ, likes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's idea of imposing a one-year ban on the use of fracking to drill for natural gas.

An editorial appearing in today's edition of the paper says:
Condemnation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was swift, loud and wrong, following his decision to conditionally veto a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Garden State, opting instead for a one-year moratorium.
A moratorium will allow state officials to get a better read on what’s going on in Washington, where federal agencies are studying the side-effects of “fracking” — the name given to drilling deep into Marcellus shale formations and injecting a water-chemical-sand mix into the rock under high pressure to drive natural gas to the surface.  
New Jersey is in no imminent danger of being invaded by energy companies in search of frackable shale deposits. Unlike New York and Pennsylvania, it lacks the geologic make-up that drillers are looking to tap. 
Christie’s one-year embargo is a measured response — an environmentally sound decision compared to the come-and-get-it, no-extraction-tax approach taken by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. Whether Corbett even opts for limited fees to cover environmental damage, road wear and other community impact remains to be seen. He’s mulling the findings of his Marcellus task force.
Some of the fallout of fracking has been demonstrated in the northern tier of Pennsylvania, where residential wells have been contaminated by methane and a few gas wells have popped their corks. The greater dangers are the possibilities of natural gas seeping into aquifers, wastewater and chemicals being spilled or illegally dumped, and contamination of the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers, which provide drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people.
Including water intakes in New Jersey, which is why Christie’s position on fracking is more than symbolic. The governor and the Legislature can revisit the issue in a year, when they know more about it, and reconsider an outright ban. It’s shameful that Pennsylvania is in such a rush to sign away its carbon-based bonanza without knowing more about the dangers and long-range costs to people who have no mineral-rights claims.


Total ban on fracking in N.J. the only safe choice

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