Upstate New York Landowner, Shale Gas Activist
[Editor’s Note: Fracking is a big reason to celebrate #WorldShaleEnergyDay; because it yields cleaner air, cleaner water and better fishing!]
It was way back in 1976 when I left Binghamton to attend North Community College in Saranac Lake, New York. As an avid fisherman I was very excited to bring my fishing equipment with me to fish the many lakes such as Lake Flower, Lake Colby, and Tupper Lake, all within a few miles of Lake Placid. Little did I know these lakes were almost dead due to acid rain, a byproduct of burning coal, locals told me there would be no trout! They were right. That was long before fracking and this first World Shale Energy Day!
For a 20-year old man at the time, I didn’t think a lot about energy but I had some concerns for the future. I didn’t see any way, though, to change things. Nuclear was still relatively new and scary, hydro wasn’t meeting needs, and solar was so costly and ineffective especially in our snow covered environment with limited sun in the northeast.
Still, the lakes of New York were dying of acid rain as arsenic, lead, chromium, and mercury were falling in our lakes from plumes of coal ash produced by power plants that our cities relied upon for the comforts of electric. Childhood asthma was effecting tens of thousands of city children, so the Sierra Club promoted natural gas which I had to agree was smart. Later, I learned much more about it, information that confirmed my earlier thoughts, although I had to be convinced, and was, on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. I now know fracking is a miracle, in fact.
Is natural gas the answer to clean water and clean air? “The science says yes!” Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” started in 1949. It is a process-in which deep shale is fractured through a process of using highly pressurized water and sand, mixed with corrosive inhibitors. It is highly effective In cracking the black shale thousands of feet below water tables and solid rock.
So, we have been blessed with cleaner air and water, as fracking has released once unobtainable large quantities of natural gas. Natural gas drilling is cost effective, environmentally safer than coal, more reliable than wind or solar and ice fishing in Lake Flower this year produced my daily limit of fresh fish, which led to a family fish fry back at our camp. I couldn’t do that during the coal years so I celebrate World Shale Energy Day. I celebrate it all year long every, in fact.
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