Finally after four months of petitioning our Sparta Town Council to enact a moratorium for the heavy industry of high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, they agreed to start the process.

To the editor:

Finally after four months of petitioning our Sparta Town Council to enact a moratorium for the heavy industry of high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, they agreed to start the process. We have to wait for a moratorium draft to be proposed to the county, then open to public hearing and then voted on by the council. I am grateful for this action and know that it will prove to be the right thing to do. If nothing else it will buy us some time to get zoning in place to protect the town.

I commend the council for being willing to hear from its constituents and for all the work that Mark Schuster, town supervisor, has done in researching this matter. There is a lot of information out there and it has been difficult to ascertain the facts. There have not been any studies regarding the health effects of the chemicals used in this process, there is no cumulative impact study regarding the effects of this heavy industry on our clean air and water, and there is no impact study regarding the social impacts of a boom industry moving quickly into a rural area. All we have to go on is anecdotal evidence, and as biologist and author of “Living Downstream,” Dr. Sandra Steingraber, wisely has reminded us, “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

My hope is that all towns in the area adopt the mindset that if the state and the industry can’t prove that fracking is 100 percent safe and that there are no carcinogenic chemicals used in the process of hydro-fracking and no radioactive materials coming out of the Marcellus and potentially contaminating our water, then we should under no circumstances allow it to happen in our area or our state, or anywhere else. There are too many variables, too many factors and too many mistakes already made in Pennsylvania for me to feel at all comfortable with this industry moving into a “town near me.” We are fortunate that New York has not permitted this type of industry and we can learn a great deal from our guinea pig neighbors in Pennsylvania. “Using records obtained by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center identified a total of 3,355 violations of environmental laws by 64 different Marcellus Shale gas drilling companies between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. Of these violations, the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center identified 2,392 violations that likely posed a direct threat to our environment and were not reporting or paperwork violations,” (http://www.pennenvironmentcenter.org). I feel sorry for the people there who are suffering the consequences of relinquishing control over their towns to an industry that cares nothing for them or their families. It is plain to me that if the industry can’t do it properly in Pe

nnsylvania, why would they be able to do it right in New York?

I urge everyone to become educated about this issue, especially landowners who are considering leasing or who have already leased their land. Please don’t take the gas companies’ word for it. Please look at the dangers and do your research about the real outcomes of this industry.


Samantha Gibson, Sparta
Member of Sparta
300 Coalition Against Fracking