The controversial use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," that is behind the country's natural gas boom has come under scrutiny in the new Hollywood drama, Promised Land, and met stiff resistance in New York state, where a four-year moratorium against the process could soon expire.
Democracy Now! hosted a 30-minute debate on fracking with two opponents and two supporters.
The discussion includes: Kate Hudson, watershed program director at Riverkeeper—New York's Clean Water Advocate; Phelim McAleer, a filmmaker who produced a pro-fracking documentary called FrackNation; Daniel Simmons, Director of State of Regulatory Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research; and Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, New York, who is a former professor of environmental law and outspoken opponent of fracking.
Fracking injects millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth in order to break up shale rock and release natural gas. Supporters say fracking is essential to U.S. energy independence, a way to revitalize depressed rural areas with new mining jobs and gas projects. But opponents warn that hundreds of millions of gallons of chemically treated water used in the process will pollute drinking water supplies and contaminate agricultural fields.
New research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado say methane—a potent greenhouse gas—may be escaping from gas sites at much higher rates than previously thought. To dive into this firestorm of debate, Democracy Now! hosted a debate with two supporters of fracking and two opponents.
The controversial use of fracking that's behind the country's natural gas boom has met stiff resistance in New York State, where there is a moratorium against the process—but that moratorium could soon expire. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has until Feb. 27 to make a decision. He has previously promised not to lift the state moratorium until research proves that fracking can be done safely. Thousands are expected to protest on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Cuomo's state of the state address, calling on him to keep the moratorium in place. That's in part because the areas where fracking would occur could impact the water supply for the millions of people living in New York City. Now a leaked analysis by the state's Health Department concludes the much debated drilling technology could be conducted safely.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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