Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 29, 2012

HAMILTON: Ecology, fracking, economy and water bills in the balance

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Couple that with my personal experiences of working in the electrochemical industry within the city itself, and understanding that highly toxic substances can be manufactured, handled and safely shipped, if given the proper regulation, technical expertise, engineering and administrative acumen that is necessary to so do.

While that technology for fracking and frack water treatment may not adequately exist today, I find it difficult to believe that it will not be so when it becomes a commitment to get it done.

The ecological sector says that fracking will destroy the environment. Again, balance. If we don’t get natural gas out of the ground, then in order for America to be energy independent, as the president says that he wants it to be, then we will have to burn coal in order to make that happen; and through demanded technology, even the air quality associated with such burning has dramatically improved; however, nowhere close to the clean-burning natural gas that fracking produces. And while frack water treatment in Niagara Falls, given the proper technology, will be non-contact with the city’s drinking water supply, we all breathe the air that coal-burning produces; even coal-burning that is hundreds of miles from us. Are these ecologist balancing out fracking and coal-burning on the scales of “all things equal, but this part is closest to me” as we should?

Probably. But one of the factors that we must look at, in Niagara Falls, is that we are a tourist city; and has our mayor not said that we must continuously develop that sector of our economy? It would appear that we must do that now more than ever.

Ironically, virtually all of our tourists arrive here as a result of the price of energy. As the AP article pointed out, and I quote, “... the drilling boom, spurred by the new technology that unlocked vast reserves of natural gas in deep rock formations like the Marcellus Shale underneath parts of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio – created a gas glut that depressed prices. That, in turn has made natural gas more attractive as a transportation fuel.” And I cannot help but to think how that can only help us, as O’Neill pointed out, locally.

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