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The Times
  • Passion rules when it comes to hydrofracking

  • There's little doubt that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as hydrofracking, is controversial. There's also little doubt those on both sides of the issue are passionate in their beliefs. And for both groups, the debate continues to grow in the mid-Atlantic region where many are clamoring for more fracking while others want it stopped altogether.

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  • There's little doubt that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as hydrofracking, is controversial. There's also little doubt those on both sides of the issue are passionate in their beliefs. And for both groups, the debate continues to grow in the mid-Atlantic region where many are clamoring for more fracking while others want it stopped altogether.
    PROS
    Cheaper energy: One major benefit, says Bloomberg Businessweek, is the price of natural gas continues to fall as more wells are opened up in the U.S. With a volatile oil market, those in favor of fracking say it is a way to extract cheap energy with few risks. 
    Low risk: Opponents charge that fracking is dangerous and contaminates the environment, especially the water supply. But proponents say the Environmental Protection Agency has yet to make any significant findings related to water contamination. They point to the controversial town of Dimock, Pa., where residents say water has been contaminated for years. EPA testing recently concluded they could find no relation to the fracking activities and contamination of water in Dimock. 
    More jobs: Industry specialists say increased employment not only means those working in the field but also those in local restaurants, auto shops and more who support those in the fracking business. Marian Schweighofer, director of the pro-fracking Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance in Damsacus, Pa., says for rural areas in Pennsylvania and New York, fracking could turn the economy around. 
    CONS
    Environmentally unsafe: Probably the biggest “con” given by those opposed to fracking is contamination of drinking water. That single issue has stalled any shale exploration in far eastern Pennsylvania and western New York, where the Delaware River Basin Commission has the final say in fracking. Opponents, including movie director Josh Fox who directed the documentary “Gasland,” say the science is incomplete and development should not take place. They point to the fact the Delaware River is the largest supplier of water to New York City and many other east coast cities. Fox also believes his allies are starting to make headway. “There is no question we are winning the PR battle,” said Fox, who calls Wayne County, Pa. home. “We are changing the public's perception on a fraction of what the gas industry spends a day on their PR machine.” 
    No new jobs: Bruce Ferguson from Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy in upstate New York says that increased jobs will not materialize with fracking.He says the eventual goal is to export the gas produced from fracking, meaning profits for big companies and landowners. “The plan is to export gas,” said Ferguson, adding that there are already leases written for many countries in Europe as well as China.
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