Looking for Trouble

Common sense dictates the last thing New York State’s Southern Tier would want to invite in is toxic chemical waste. The last place the area would want it invited to is Endicott, the site of considerable toxic chemical contamination by IBM. And the absolute last facility anyone would want to handle toxic waste is an old IBM treatment plant. But that is a plan being considered.

Based on the ongoing horror story of what toxic waste is doing to the Village of Endicott, Broome County and surrounding Southern Tier; the quick, short, definite answer to whether Endicott can be the location of a toxic waste treatment plant is – NO! Especially one planning to use a new experimental technique for dealing with the vast amount of known and undisclosed chemical toxins used in Fracking.

Asking area residents to put another bullet in the gun and play another round of toxic contamination Russian roulette, sounds more like a cruel joke than the kind of sustainable, safe, high tech, green energy, economic stimulus touted as the real solution to the area’s economic doldrums. The prospect of Fracking has already cast a shadow on the area’s economic future. In anticipation of the industrialization of the rural scenery, the destruction and congestion of local roads, the increased cost of all sorts of public services, and many other negatives; area property values have already declined; some banks indicate mortgages may be unavailable on leased properties and those nearby. Add to this the enormous problems Fracking already presents and expense of repairing and maintaining area infrastructure in light of the repeated flooding; the Southern Tier has more than enough problems to deal with already.

But the NYS DEC still pushes their Big Oil & Gas friendly policies for issuing Fracking permits as early as 2012. This is in spite of the fact the US Geological Survey and FEMA says it might take up to five years to accurately update the floodplain maps for the Southern Tier. The DEC is also ignoring what issues will have to be considered from the final plans of the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions rules and regulations. The DEC’s hurry up policy includes attempting to write regulations before the comment period for their SGEIS guideline is even completed. Perhaps the DEC has gone into overdrive so it can issue permits before the already underway comprehensive EPA studies of the dangers of Fracking to drinking water supplies issues preliminary reports next year? Those reports might contain recommendations that the EPA’s enforcement power in the Safe Drinking Water & Clean Water & Air Acts, taken away by the secret meetings of Vice President Cheney and top petrochemical execs in 2005, must be restored. Reinstatement of those regulations on Big O & G would very likely make any kind of Fracking impossible, based on potential contamination danger and inability to safely dispose of the billions of gallons of toxic waste water Fracking will produce.

The NYS Legislature may be considering legislation that would slow down the rush to or temporarily ban Fracking, because during a recent hearing the DEC failed to adequately address a significant number of problems in its recently incarnation of the SGEIS. New York State residents can only hope that Gov. Cuomo will put his future Presidential aspirations aside for a moment think about what would be doing “the right thing” for the men, women and children of his state. A ban of Fracking and all the problems connected with it, like a toxic waste plant in Endicott, before it begins and can cause harm to the citizens of NYS and our environment, would be the right and smart thing to do. Otherwise we are just looking for trouble; and no one who really cares about the people of NYS wants that.

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