Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CB2 Meeting Tonight - Either The Sky Is Falling, Or It's Not. Or Maybe It's Falling a Little Bit?

Well, I wasn't planning to go to a public hearing tonight, but I might just have to, just to hear what's said for myself.

Don't have time for a long post right now, but here's the deal. Last night, I noticed this on a street lamp in Soho near my office:

My gut reaction was, "That sounds improbable". The reasons behind my having that gut reaction are the sort of thing I don't have time for, but that's how it was.

So I got home last night & checked in on my email and found this, posted to NYCKayaker -

New York City residents finally have a chance to voice their concerns on the threat natural gas drilling poses to their drinking water supply--

*Manhattan Community Board 2 Holds Public Hearing on Natural Gas Drilling Planned for
NYC's Upstate Watershed *

The hearing will address the threat posed to 90% of New York City’s drinking water supply by a plan to drill for gas in the city’s upstate watershed.

*When: 6:30pm on March 18, 2009 *

*Where:* *Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall
*239 Thompson Street
Washington Square Park South

*Among the speakers at this public hearing will be:
*- New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee Chair James
- Dr. Stephen Corson, Policy Analyst for Manhattan Borough President Scott
- Joe Levine, architect and co-founder of NY-H20
- *Craig Michaels, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper
*- Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney for Earth Justice’s Northeast Office
- Jared Chausow, specialist in the issue of gas drilling in New York City’s
Upstate Watershed, for New York State Senator Tom Duane.

*More information on this event*
*More infomation on gas drilling in the NYCWatershed*

I went to the "More info on gas drilling in the NYCWatershed" link & according to that, oh my, scary stuff. Sky is falling, cats sleeping with dogs, etc.

But although I usually tend to fall on the conservationist side of things, I also do have something of a skeptical streak, and when you tell me that the sky is falling, my reaction tends to be "Really? Let me do a little looking into that for myself".

So I did that and I found this:

and that had a whole bunch more info including this statement made by the Commissioner of the NYS DEC, back in September of last year:

Which included stuff like this:

"First, DEC has not received any applications for Marcellus Shale horizontal drilling in the New York City watershed. Accordingly, there is no imminent threat of harm to the city's water supply and most certainly no 'emergency' action is needed. Even if we were to receive an application, no permits will be issued until the completion of a full environmental review specific to the special sensitivities of the City's watershed"

My mild skeptical streak applies to government statements too. I don't know if the info on the DEC website is too optimistic any more than I know if Riverkeeper's stuff is too pessimistic, but I'd rather have both sides of the story & reserve judgement. Although I'm suddenly thinking of my original pseudo folk-saying, "She who stands in the middle of the road is most likely to get hit by a bus".

I found another interesting piece of info in the New York Times. The article was just published on the 15th, and I don't expect to hear it in the testimony that will be shared tonight, but the article is about how falling fuel costs have ended the "drilling frenzy" that was going on not too long ago:

Interesting - it's not much of a silver lining, but the real estate bust has relieved a lot of the pressure that was being put on our waterfront by developers. Seems that maybe the fall of those crazy fuel prices could do the same for our watershed.

Just mulling things over out loud. That's what blogs are for, right? Anyways, I'm curious enough that I'll probably go, just to hear what's said.

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