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ABOUT WHATTHEFRACK.ORG is a program of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, an all-volunteer, grassroots organization that has been working to prohibit dangerous hydraulic fracturing (fracking) since 2008. Catskill Citizens provides one of the best websites in the country on fracking including an extensive Newsroom and a comprehensive Learn More section. Our Action Alerts make it easy for you to contact your elected officials in just a matter of seconds. Because we have an all-volunteer staff, all the money we raise goes directly into the fight against fracking. Please donate generously.

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Keynote Speaker: David Slottje, Esq, Community Environmental Defense Council.
A one- day action-oriented conference about actions that can taken to prevent collateral damage resulting from fracking activities such as waste disposal, gas infrastructure, air pollution and road and rail transportation.
Textor Hall,
Ithaca College,
953 Danby Road,
Ithaca, NY 14850
Register here: The Coalition to Protect Communities from Fracking's Collateral Damage


What you can do to prevent fracking.


Community Choice Aggregation is now an option in six states. In essence, it's a community-owned utility, and because it represents many thousands of customers, it can negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an energy provider that is below the retail rate. Paul Fenn, the 'inventor' of CCAs, says they can usually deliver cost savings of around 15 to 20 percent.

But CCAs can deliver much more than low prices, they can also provide communities (municipalities) with an opportunity to build publicly-owned utilities that generate power locally, from renewable resources. Fenn says a successful CCA may generate more than 80 percent of its electricity locally, and reduce grid load by an equal amount.

There are two essential conditions that make a CCA feasible. First, municipalities must be permitted to access data on customer's energy use from utility companies. This information is needed to negotiate a PPA, and it's even more important if the CCA wants to design a successful locally-produced energy system. Second, CCAs must have an opt-out provision—in other words all consumers in the catchment area are automatically included in the CCA unless they actively decide not to join. Human nature being what it is, only five to ten percent of the public will opt into a CCA, but if customers must opt out, the CCA is likely to capture in excess of 80 percent of the local market.

There are no CCAs in New York yet, but that may be about to change. Earlier this year both the Assembly and Senate voted out legislation that would approve a trial program in Westchester County. The state's Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken up CCAs as a part of its Reforming Energy Vision initiative, and a group, Citizens for Local Power, is lining up municipal support for a CCA in Ulster County.

To facilitate the widespread proliferation of CCAs throughout New York, we need enabling legislation such as the bill introduced by Assembly Member Kevin Cahill in the last session. It would require utilities to share data with municipalities and provide CCAs with the opt-out provision. It would also require CCAs to offer customers power at below the prevailing market rate.


Proposition 1, is a constitutional amendment that would lock in legislative control of redistricting for years to come. It's a bad deal for all New Yorkers, but should be of particular concern to fracktivists because it will virtually assure that the Senate remains the place where fracking-related legislation goes to die.

The amendment would permit legislative leaders to handpick a commission that would be required to defer to the gerrymandered districts we have today—and because the commission would give equal weight to both parties regardless of their performance at the polls, it's bound to produce deadlock, which will throw redistricting back into the hands of the legislature—in other words we'll be right back where we started.

Click Image to Enlarge
Image courtesy of Common Cause New York

The most bizarre feature of Prop 1 is a complicated voting system that assures a political party that doesn't control either the Assembly or the Senate still has the the power to veto any redistricting plan. Since the Democrats historically control the Assembly, this provision is likely to only benefit Republicans if they come up short in the Senate. Opposition to shale gas extraction itself may be non-partisan, but it's a matter of record that Senate Republicans have been the main obstacle to legislation that would protect the public from fracking.


Please donate to
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy,
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Economic Impact of Shale Gas Drilling

Read Selected Documents Authored by Jannette M. Barth, Ph.D.

Can New York Learn from Texas?. Economist Jannette Barth's latest analysis of the economic impact of shale gas plays.

Read more about LNG exports by entering the word "exports" in the Search feature of our website.

Renewable Energy


Now you don't have to install solar panels or a wind turbine to go green. All you have to do is switch your electric bill to Pear Energy. Remember to enter the promo code: catskillcitizen, and Pear will donate $50 to Catskill Citizens.



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Oct 30, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
    Area law schools adjust curriculum to meet oil and gas industry needs

    Suzanne Elliot
    The continued growth of the regional oil and natural gas industry has led to area law schools altering course offerings to meet the rising demand for specialized legal help. The University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University schools of law and West Virginia University College of Law have all adju...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    Geology Experts Confirm Fracking Risks

    Santa Barbara Independent

    Unfortunately, if you repeat a lie often enough, it begins to seem like the truth. One such oft-repeated myth, propagated with the help of millions of dollars of outside oil money, is that “there is no risk of fracking” in Santa Barbara County so we don’t need Measure P to protect us. The reality...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    How to Monitor for Fracking Air Pollution

    Environmental Technology

    Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, has become an increasingly popular method of extracting gas and oil from shale rock over the last decade. The process involves injecting water at high pressure to fracture rocks and allow gas to flow out. However, there are now a number of conce...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
    Teachout Will Give Financial Support To Senate Dems

    State of Politics

    A Democratic-controlled Senate, she said, could lead to the passage of a hydrofracking moratorium as well as the creation of a public financing system. In many cases, Teachout says these races are simply coin tosses. “I don’t think people realize how close these races are and the truth is, we ...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
    OH. Frack ! Ohio to Displace Fracklahoma as World Capital of Frackquakes ?

    Chip Northrup
    Move over Fracklahoma, there’s a new frackquake contender, Ohio, who is fast catching up as a frackquake epicenter. Not just on disposal wells, but on the fracks themselves. Fracking related earthquakes in eastern Ohio now top 1,000 Before 2011 three Ohio Counties: Harrison, Mahoning and Trumb...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    Hurley Town Board OKs ban on use of fracking fluids on town roads

    Daily Freeman
    William J. Kemble
    HURLEY >> The Town Board has approved a resolution prohibiting fluids from the natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from being used on town roads as a de-icing or dust control agent. The board voted 3-1 in favor of the resolution at a meeting Monday, with Counci...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014

    Energy Policy Forum
    Deborah Lawrence
    A new report issued today by The Institute for Energy, Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and Oil Change International addresses the constellation of risks facing tar sand producers. For the first time, the financial impacts of campaigns such as public accountability surrounding the Keystone XL...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    PA Congressman launches frack waste investigation

    NPR State Impact PA
    Susan Phillips
    The state’s new acting secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection, Dana Aunkst, has lots of questions to answer regarding how the state oversees frack waste disposal and transportation. On Wednesday, Congressman Matt Cartwright, a democrat from Schuylkill County, sent Aunkst a 3-page l...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    New York State Allows Water Grab

    DC Bureau
    Peter Mantius
    PAINTED POST, N.Y. — Barely a football field away from John Marvin’s modest house, 42 black railcars full of water sit waiting for the signal to begin rolling south to supply fracking drill pads across the Pennsylvania border. When the water train lurches and clanks through the village — often at pr...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
    Anti-Fracking Activist in Court

    PA Home Page

    Montrose, Susquehanna County- An anti-fracking activist, in Susquehanna County Court as Cabot Oil and Gas looks to bar the woman from areas near their wells. Longtime anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins, in a Susquehanna County courtroom on Tuesday. Cabot Oil and Gas corporation, wants Scroggins f...  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    Toxic Mix From Ohio Fracking Pipeline Catches Fire

    Laura Arenschield
    Oct. 29--A pipeline carrying condensate, a toxic substance produced during natural gas and oil processing, caught fire in eastern Ohio early this morning. It burned several acres of Monroe County woodland before the pipeline pressure dropped low enough for the fire to burn itself out  [Full Story]
Oct 29, 2014
    Feds asked to start review of W.Va.-Va. pipeline

    Washington Post
    Associated Press
    ROANOKE, Va. — Developers of a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline have moved to begin a federal review of the project. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week to initiate the agency’s pre-filing process.  [Full Story]
Oct 28, 2014
    Moyne takes leading role in uniting councils against fracking

    The Standard
    Sean McComish
    MOYNE Shire is leading a charge of Victorian councils against unconventional gas. Three councils, including Moyne Shire, put forward an anti-fracking motion that was passed at a gathering of council bosses in Melbourne at the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) last week.   [Full Story]

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In an important article, Climate change, Obama, and methane, posted on The Hill, Cornell scientist Robert Howarth chides the president for "once again failing to announce strong, decisive action to combat methane at the recent Climate Summit." Methane, he says, is the "low hanging fruit" of greenhouse gas because the planet responds much more quickly to reductions of methane emissions than to reductions in carbon dioxide.


Click Image to Enlarge
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan

You can see it from space: A report in Geophysical Research Letters concludes that the 2,500 square mile methane hot spot in America's Southwest is "likely from established gas, coal, and coalbed methane mining and processing."

In 2015 EPA will require oil and gas companies to use "green completion" technology when developing oil and gas wells, and that will help reduce wellhead emissions of methane, but that doesn't begin to address the extent of the problem. If the U.S. is going to get serious about the issue, it must begin by framing it in a way that reflects the urgency of the situation.

First it must bring its estimates of "fugitive emissions" from natural gas production more in line with the work of independent scientists. EPA estimates the figure at 1.2 percent of total natural gas production, but Seth B. Shonkoff, Executive Director of PSE Healthy Energy, recently said, "The most authoritative [scientific studies] say the EPA underestimates methane emissions by about 50 percent."

Second, EPA must stop referencing the global warming potential (GWP) of methane over a one hundred-year time period and, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, assess its impact over the next twenty years—after all, this is all the time we have if we are to forestall the worst impacts of global warming. This simple recalibration would make it clear that methane emissions currently account for at least 27 percent, not 9 percent, of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions—even supposing EPA's current estimates are otherwise accurate.

An IPPC study found that methane emissions have increased by 150 percent since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution; carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 40 percent over the same period.

Read more:


Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said he wants science to decide the fate of fracking, but an investigative report by Scott Waldman posted on Capital New York indicates that officials in his administration, including at least one non-scientist, played a role in rewriting portions of a United States Geological Survey study so that it downplays the risks associated with shale gas extraction.

The study, Occurrence of Methane in Groundwater of South-Central New York State, 2012, was intended to establish a baseline of methane in groundwater in the Southern Tier, a region of the state that the Cuomo administration has considered opening up to hydraulic fracturing. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) helped fund the study, and that gave the administration access to an early draft of the report—and it used that access to influence the content of the published report.

Waldman cites a reference to hazards associated with gas pipelines and gas storage facilities that was dropped from the final report at the behest of someone in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "Everybody has an angle", commented USGS hydrologist Paul Heisig, lead author of the study.

Another change highlighted by Waldman was the addition of a sentence reassuring the reader that "The risk [of drinking water contamination] can be reduced if the casing and cementing of [gas] wells is properly designed and constructed." But that's a very big "if". A 2014 study suggests that the industry may be incapable of reliably designing and constructing leak-proof shale gas wells. Cornell's Anthony Ingraffea led a team that examined records compiled on all the oil and gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2012 and concluded that there are structural problems with almost ten percent of the shale wells drilled in Northeast Pennsylvania, the region adjacent to New York"s Southern Tier.

There's no indication that the hard science in the USGS report was altered—a hydrologist examining the data on methane levels would not be misled; but the public, reliant on the USGS for context and interpretation, could be swayed by the spin.


Republican Rob Astorino and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins have both been very clear—Astorino says would open New York State to high-volume fracking and Hawkins would ban it. After nearly four years in office, Governor Andrew Cuomo has refused to stake out a clear position on the issue. Polls will be open from 6 AM until 9 PM on Election Day, Tuesday November 4.



    Impact of Industrial Wind Turbines on Residential Property Assessment In Ontario 2012 Assessment Base Year Study. Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

    by J. David Hughes, Post Carbon Institute, Oct., 2014

FRACKING’S TOXIC LOOPHOLE Thanks to the “Halliburton Loophole,” Hydraulic Fracturing Companies Are Injecting Chemicals More Toxic than Diesel
    Environmental Integrity Project, Oct 22, 2014. This report was researched and written by Eric Schaeffer and Courtney Bernhardt. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws.

Drilling in California: Who’s at risk?
    Tanja Srebotnjak and Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, Natural Resources Defense Council, Posted Oct 2014.

    Oxfam Briefing Paper 191, Oct 17, 2014

Video: FRACK US: the dangers of gas fracking.
    RT Documentary--53 minutes. Published on Oct 10, 2014 All across the USA people are rising up against fracking. They don’t believe the process is safe and think it causes wide-scale land contamination. Ever more extraction sites are being approved and developed with new plant being built in once idyllic landscapes.

Department of the Army Letter: Permit Application by Constitution Pipeline Co., LLC
    Letter dated Oct 8, 2014 regarding construction of a new 124-mile-long natural gas pipeline.

Strengthening the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Increasing renewable energy use will achieve greater emissions reductions
    Union of Concerned Scientists Policy Brief, Oct. 2014. Document also available at:

The Bakken Boom: East Coast at Risk
    Food & Water Watch, Sept, 2014 Transporting Bakken Crude: Potential Safety and Health Hazards

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Energy Extracted from Federal Lands and Waters: An Update
    Wilderness Society Report by Stratus Consulting, Sept, 2014

Limited impact on decadal-scale climate change from increased use of natural gas
    Nature, Oct, 2014. Authors: Haewon McJeon, Jae Edmonds, Nico Bauer, Leon Clarke, Brian Fisher, Brian P. Flannery, Jérôme Hilaire, Volker Krey, Giacomo Marangoni, Raymond Mi, Keywan Riahi, Holger Rogner & Massimo Tavoni "Our results show that although market penetration of globally abundant gas may substantially change the future energy system, it is not necessarily an effective substitute for climate change mitigation policy9, 10.:

Upper Delaware River Basin: One of 10 Special Places
    As natural gas extraction expands across the Central Appalachian region, that industrial-scale energy development is encroaching on public lands that are critically important for fishing and hunting. In this report, Trout Unlimited takes a deeper look into those public places, outlining the potential risks posed by gas drilling operations and providing recommendations from sportsmen and women that promote responsible energy development.

The 2001–Present Induced Earthquake Sequence in the Raton Basin of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado
    Authors: Justin L. Rubinstein, William L. Ellsworth, Arthur McGarr, and Harley M. Benz, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, October 2014,

The URGENT Case for a Ban on Fracking
    Food & Water Watch, Sept 2014

DEP PA Water Supply Determination Letters
    The following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities in Pennsylvania

The State Clean Energy Cookbook: A Dozen Recipes for State Action on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    Standord Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and Hoover Institutiion's Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy, posted September, 2014.

Organic compounds in produced waters from shale gas wells
    by Samuel J. Maguire-Boyle and Andrew R. Barron, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (Formerly the Journal of Environmental Monitoring), August13, 2014; abstract.

GLOBAL SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT Water Availability and Business Risks
    Authors: PAUL REIG, TIANYI LUO, AND JONATHAN N. PROCTOR; World resources Institute Posted Sept, 2014.

GLOBAL SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT Water Availability and Business Risks (Exec Summary)
    Authors: PAUL REIG, TIANYI LUO, AND JONATHAN N. PROCTOR; World Resources Institute, Posted Sept, 2014.

Climate Impacts of Natural Gas Production and LNG Export: A Synopsis of Current Science
    August 2014., Creative Commons, Oregon Sierra Club.

TOXIC WORKPLACE: Fracking Hazards on the Job
    Food & Water Watch, August 2014.

Blackout in the Gas Patch How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement
    How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement Published: August 7, 2014 by Earthworks By: Nadia Steinzor -

FEMA Mitigation Policy: Limits on Subsurface Uses of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Acquired Lands
    Policy Number: FP 302-405-146-1, May 5, 2014

Up in Flames: U.S. Shale Oil Boom Comes at Expense of Wasted Natural Gas, Increased CO2

Climate Impacts of Natural Gas Production and LNG Export: A Synopsis of Current Science
    Oregon Sierra Club, Ted Gleichman, editor. August, 2014

Potential Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas Development and Production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland
    July 2014 Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health School of Public Health University of Maryland, College Park

Open Letter from members of Congress to Obama
    "To enhance our nations' energy security and reliability and to protect our environment, methane emissions must be reduced. Letter signed by 49 members of Congress. May 14, 2014

Anatomy of an Industry Front Group How the oil and gas industry runs the show at the Center for Sustainable Shale Development
    Public Accountability Initiative, August, 2014 report Executive Summary

UP IN FLAMES: Taxpayers Left Out in the Cold as Publicly Owned Natural Gas is Carelessly Wasted
    Western Values Project, May, 2014.

Letter: Shale Gas Development and Mars Area School Permitting Decision
    Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy letter to PA DEP dated Aug 12, 2014

Considerations in Signing an Easement Agreement
    Pipeline Safety Coalition, Posted August, 2014

Landowner's Guide to Pipelines: Safety, Responsibilities, Your Rights
    Pipeline Safety Trust, July 2014

FRACKING BEYOND THE LAW Despite Industry Denials, Investigation Reveals Continued Use of Diesel Fuels in Hydraulic Fracturing
    The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws. Report Aug 13, 2014

After Action Review Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Incident Response Chevron Appalachia LLC - Lanco 7H Well Fire Dunkard Township, Greene County
    This report provides an After Action Review (AAR) of the Chevron Appalachia LLC Lanco 7H well fire incident. This well fire incident occurred from February 11, 2014 through March 3, 2014.

    This summary offers factual circumstances that may bear upon more complete evaluation of the Lanco A Well Fire and its cause(s).

Blackout in the Gas Patch How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement
    Earthworks report, August, 2014. Author: Nadia Steinzor. Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project

Blackout in the Gas Patch: How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement -
    Report Executive Summary by Earthworks, August, 2014. Earthworks conducted a year-long investigation into how DEP permits and oversees gas and oil operations, what has occurred at certain loca- tions, and the circumstances facing numerous households and communities. - See more at:

Environmental Public Health Dimensions of Shale and Tight Gas Development
    Authors: Seth B.C. Shonkoff, Jake Hays and Madelon L. Finkel in Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 122, Num 8, August, 2014

Fracking in the Digital Landscape
    2014 Makovsky Report, Makovsky Integrated Communications

Lighting the Way The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013
    Written by: Jordan Schneider, Frontier Group Rob Sargent, Environment America Research & Policy Center August 2014

Biotic impacts of energy development from shale: research priorities and knowledge gaps
    Authors: Sara Souther, Morgan W Tingley, Viorel D Popescu, David TS Hayman, Maureen E Ryan, Tabitha A Graves, Brett Hartl, and Kimberly Terrell. The Ecological Society of America, 2014. * Exploitation of oil and gas reserves trapped in shale rock, including the extraction process known as “fracking”, poses substantial and unexplored risks to living creatures • Understanding the biotic impacts of operations that fracture shale to access reserves is hindered by the unavailability of high-quality data about fracturing fluids, wastewater, and spills or violations • The risks of chemical contamination from spills, deep well failures, storage leaks, and underground fluid migration are top research priorities • Cumulative effects of shale development may represent the most severe threats to plants and animals, but are particularly challenging to study

Time Warner Cable News/Siena College Poll July 20-23, 2014 544 Registered Voters in Hudson Valley Southern Tier in New York
    Q20. Switching gears, the State Department of Environmental Conservation - or DEC - is expected to soon issue a decision on whether or not to allow hydrofracking - that is, the proposed method to recover natural gas from parts of upstate New York - to move forward. How much have you heard or read about it - a great deal, some, not very much, or nothing at all? Q21. Do you support or oppose the Department of Environmental Conservation allowing hydrofracking to move forward in parts of upstate New York? Q22A. Hydrofracking is too dangerous as it leads to unsafe levels of methane gas being released Q22B. Hydrofracking is important in order to harvest the abundant supply of natural gas that is otherwise currently inaccessible

DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated With Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement
    GAO Report 14-555, June, 2014.

Fracking Brussels: A Who's Who of the EU Shale Gas Lobby
    Friends of the Earth Europe; author Rachel Tansey, published july, 2014

Shale gas and fracking: examining the evidence
    Gwen Harrison, Stuart Parkinson and Gary McFarlane; Published by © Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) in July 2014

Health and fracking: Should the medical profession be concerned?
    This article attempts to summarise the health concerns and discuss them within the South African context. Published in the South African Medical Journal, May, 2014.

A Summary Report of Perceptions of the Politics and Regulation of Unconventional Shale Development in Texas
    Authors: Sam Gallaher, Doctoral Candidate Jonathan Pierce, Post-Doctoral Scholar Chris Weible, Associate Professor Jennifer Kagan, Graduate Assistant Tanya Heikkila, Associate Professor Benjamin Blair, Research Associate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, Denver, July, 2014

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