How Many Fracking Jobs Are Worth Polluted Water?

Whether or not to lift New York State's ban on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for natural gas has been a "fractured" debate. The natural gas industry has lobbied Governor Cuomo intensely to allow the practice in upstate New York's shale, while consumer protection and environmental organizations (with spokesperson Mark Ruffalo) have staunchly opposed the practice.

In recent weeks the debate has taken on a new focus, with both sides debating the number of jobs fracking would create in the increasingly unemployed upstate region. Regardless of the industry's job creation estimates, fracking will cost New Yorkers too much in the long run to be worth it.

This is because fracking contaminates water supplies. Landowners in states that allow fracking, like West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado, have already spent "hundreds of dollars a month to buy bottled water or maintain large tanks, known as water buffaloes, for drinking water in their front yards" while fracking companies reap the profits from the practice.

Fracking companies do not pay for the damage in most cases, as the New York Times found, "[Landowners] said they learned only after the fact that the leases did not require gas companies to pay for replacement drinking water if their wells were contaminated, and despite state regulations, not all costs were covered."

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