Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Odorless, colorless: The quiet rise of American Big Gas
By Katie Benner, writer and Shelley DuBois, reporter

"FORTUNE -- The big draw at the Broome County Forum Theater in Binghamton, NY this September wasn't the usual fare of pro-wrestling matches, circus performances, or headliners like Rob Zombie. It was the sight of locals testifying before the Environmental Protection Agency. Two by two, neighbors stepped forward to argue for and against a controversial drilling technique called horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

While the process has been the natural gas industry's greatest boon in the last decade, fracking opponents who rely on well water fear fracking will ruin their water supply, and some say it already has. After holding similar meetings in Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, and Canonsburg, PA, the EPA came to Binghamton to gather public input for its upcoming study on the relationship between fracking and drinking. The issue is so contentious that New York State has placed a temporary ban on the practice.

Those who have followed the national controversy over fracking are familiar with scenes like the Broome County hearing. EPA panel members pleaded for data and input regarding their study (which will not be released before 2012). One concerned landowner, local pastor Emrys Tiller, offered up his property for the study. And people who want corporations like Chesapeake Energy (CHK, Fortune 500) and Halliburton (HAL, Fortune 500) worry that they will miss out on jobs and money if the natural gas industry is forced to slow down." More>>>>

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