Monday, July 08, 2013
The oil and gas fracking industry has met its match in New York. They have been stopped by NIMBY-ites, a coalition of interest groups opposed to horizontal drilling and rock fracturing. Thus far, the group is winning against the combined money and power of the drillers. One can look at this in three ways. The Not-In-My-Back-Yard groups have more power than one would think or the oil industry has done a bad job of PR or both. It is easier to organize around a single issue and NIMBY-ites have been effective in doing so, but drilling also is a single issue with jobs and money for poorer sections of New York State. How is it that the economic potential is being frustrated? For one, interest groups have raised concern about the safety of such drilling with videos of flammable water spewing from taps. The industry has countered that such incidents are not its fault or are aberrations, but thus far it hasn't found an effective way to counter the visuals. The industry has to take the time to explain in detail to the public how it will guarantee clean extraction. Thus far, it has fallen short. NIMBY-ites haven't won the battle, however. The issue will remain for years -- as long as gas remains locked in sub-surface shale.