Skaneateles High School Airs Both Sides of the Marcellus Drilling Debate

Kudos to the Skaneateles High School Environmental Club for the public meeting they held on hydraulic fracturing on January 23rd at the High School auditorium. Yes, the members of the club are no doubt anti-drilling and they had several speakers who presented the anti-drilling viewpoint. And yes, they showed the biased anti-drilling “documentary” Split Estate.

But to their credit, the Environmental Club also balanced it with someone who presented the pro-drilling side of the argument. That person was David Palmerton, a geologist and environmental consultant, and someone who’s actually developed oil and gas wells.

With regard to the likelihood that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing will pollute water aquifers, Mr. Palmerton said:

“I can tell you as a geologist that putting water in 7,000 feet down, which is some 6,500 feet below any possible water supply, is not going to reach that water supply,” Palmerton said. “It’s trapped by the pressure of the rock.”

A question was also raised about what is done with the “frack fluid” once it is reclaimed.

Palmerton agreed with [Onondaga Nation General Counsel Joseph] Heath’s earlier point that there were not enough facilities to treat the wastewater.

“But, once it’s clear that oil and gas development can proceed, companies will come in, will develop those facilities,” he said. “There’s a lot of money that’s out there that’s ready to be invested in those facilities.”*

Some common sense words. Let’s hope the young members of the Environmental Club were listening. Hats off to them for airing both sides.

*Skaneateles Press (Mar 8th) – Fracking finds supporters, opponents at SHS