HYDROFRACKING: my new book, and the state of the debate in NY

I have just finished my latest book, HYDROFRACKING: WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW.  It will be published by Oxford University Press in November, and I’ll be doing a short book tour. The book is a nonpartisan primer, and in it I ask and answer a few basic questions: what is fracking, where is it used, what are its pros and cons, how can we improve the process, and how does it impact renewable energy? My intention is to inform readers and promote discussion about this timely subject — which, for better or worse, is affecting all of us.
Fracking, as you may have heard, is a controversial subject.  Some politicians, such as NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, see it as a political “third rail”:  whatever decision they make about it, a large and influential group of people will be angry at them.  Cuomo has presidential ambitions, and is attempting to kick the hydrofracking can down the road for as long as possible — just as President Obama is trying to do with the Keystone XK Pipeline debate.  But they can’t keep kicking forever.
Here Bryan Walsh of Time magazine nicely summarizes the case for and against hydrofracking in upstate NY, which sits above the Marcellus Shale, perhaps the largest shale gas deposit in the nation, and explains why it has put Cuomo in a bind:

As Obama Visits Upstate New York, the Fracking Debate Takes Center Stage

While the President might want to talk education on his visit to upstate New York, there will be no escaping the war over fracking

SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGESActivists protest fracking in New York state in 2012. Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to make a decision on allowing fracking

President Obama is planning to tout his education plan when he visits upstate New York this week, beginning with an appearance in Buffalo today—but much of his audience is likely to be interested in only one subject: fracking. Obama has, for the most part, been in favor of using fracking—more properly known as hydraulic fracturing—to exploit the country’s huge resources of shale natural gas. In his 2012 State of the Union speech, Obama pledged to “take every possible action to safely develop” natural gas, promising that shale gas would add hundreds of thousands of jobs to the economy. And he’s been true to his word—the U.S. produced in 2012 8.13 trillion cubic ft. of natural gas from shale deposits, which requires fracking, nearly double the total from 2010, and the Energy Information Administration projects that by 2030 that figure could pass 14 trillion cubic ft. While the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department are working on possibly stronger new national regulations of fracking, for the most part the natural gas industry has had its way under Obama. He may not have intended it when he entered the White House in 2009, but Obama really has been America’s “driller-in-chief.
That’s exactly why protesters are likely to be out in force tomorrow in Buffalo, and even more so when Obama continues his visit to Binghamton, NY. Fracking remains controversial throughout the U.S., thanks to concerns over potential water contamination and pollution from wells, as well as fears that the new supplies of natural gas will bind the country more permanently to carbon-heavy fossil fuels. Ground zero for that emotional debate is New York state, which has both a massive potential reserve of shale gas and a determined community of environmentalists and activists working to ensure that fracking never happens in the Empire State. “We’re going to be present in Binghamton by the hundreds, if not the thousands,” Walter Hang, the head of Ithaca-based Toxic Targeting, told WNYC.

Read more: https://science.time.com/2013/08/22/as-obama-visits-upstate-new-york-the-fracking-debate-takes-center-stage/#ixzz2d6cdUVMF