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Letter: Fracking offers benefits with proper regulation

Fracking offers benefits with proper regulation

The subject of fracking has become of great interest and concern to New York residents, especially in light of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s and New York State Department of Environmental Conservations’s ban on fracking within the Marcellus shale for gas recovery. Environmental concerns include release of methane gas to the atmosphere, groundwater contamination, air quality impacts, disposal of fracking fluids and brine, and possible seismic activity.

However, we must include economic benefits in the equation. It is estimated that up to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is contained within the Marcellus shale, with 50 trillion cubic feet of that recoverable. The recovery of this gas is made possible only by using horizontal drilling and fracking. The value of this recoverable gas is estimated at $1 trillion. Technology for containing pollution from the installation and operation of fracking wells appears to be available. The real problem is the extreme shortage of qualified personnel and funds to monitor and enforce environmental regulations for drilling and fracking.

The costs for training, monitoring and control should be borne by oil and gas companies and their investors. Since it would be folly to allow the industry to monitor itself, the industry should provide funds for this to the appropriate environmental agencies.

In summary, I believe that fracking in New York State will greatly benefit the economy of the state, especially in rural areas, given proper regulation as described above.

Richard P. Leonard

Orchard Park