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Letter: Citizens will get stuck with fracking bill

Citizens will get stuck with bill for fracking

On Sept. 20, Environment New York released a report "The Costs of Fracking," which exposed the hidden economic downside to fracking. The environmental damage done by this destructive drilling in other states - contaminating water, making families sick and ruining our forests - is bad enough by itself. But to add insult to injury, our research shows that, when the boom is over, we'll get stuck with the bill.
I was particularly struck by the fact that the truck traffic needed to deliver water to a single fracking well causes as much damage to local roads as nearly 3.5 million car trips. In Pennsylvania, this translated to the state estimating that it needed to spend $265 million in 2010 to fix the damage.
Like every other polluting boom, the new gas rush looks seductively like a "get-rich quick" scheme. But history tells a different story. Decades after Pennsylvania's coal mining boom, that state is now stuck with $5 billion in cleanup costs, and those old mining companies are long gone.
The staggering health and environmental tolls of fracking are reason enough to ban the practice. But it also turns out that dirty drilling means dollars down the drain.
David VanLuven
Director, Environment New York