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Poll Finds New Yorkers Don't Trust Frackers

A poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute two weeks ago found that New Yorkers are split over whether energy companies should be permitted to use high-volume, deep-well hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to retrieve natural gas in the state’s Marcellus Shale formation: 44 percent said they were in favor of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s recommendation to permit fracking in many parts of Upstate and the Southern Tier, 40 percent were opposed, and 16 percent were undecided.

Less ambiguous is the level of trust those polled assigned to those who are conducting the public debate over fracking and its potential environmental consequences. Siena’s pollsters asked their respondents the following question:

Opponents of hydro-fracking are concerned that this method of extracting natural gas has not yet been fully studied and may pose risks to drinking water and the environment. Supporters of hydro-fracking believe it is safe and will create new jobs and supply needed energy for the state. Are you more inclined to trust the opponents or the supporters of hydro-fracking?

Just 33 percent of those surveyed trusted the industry representatives who claim fracking is safe. Fifty-one percent said they trust those who say fracking is dangerous, and 17 percent were undecided. In Upstate New York, where folks have the most experience dealing with energy companies, their leases, and their stewardship of the environment, the number who trusted opponents of hydrofracking was even higher: 56 percent.

If you’d like to hear what the opponents to fracking have to say, put this event on your calendar: Protecting Our Water Rights and WNY Drilling Defense present a “Gas Facts Fall Fest” on Sunday, October 9, 2-5pm, a the Buffalo Irish Center (245 Abbott Road). There will be food, soda, beer, a locally produced documentary on fracking issues, and presentations. Tickets are $15 pre-sale (at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut Street), $20 at the door.

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