Gas drilling: A heavy load

Not all of the social costs (or, as the economists like to say, "negative externalities") of horizontal natural-gas drilling are related to the actual fracking process. For instance: wear and tear on rural roads from dramatic increases in heavy truck traffic. It hasn't gotten as much attention as water contamination, but it's a huge headache for towns in gas-drilling regions.

Sue Heavenrich, a thorough and careful chronicler blogging at The Marcellus Effect, has a recent post on gas-industry trucking contractors who've gotten caught breaking the rules of the road.

...What really galls most people is the idea that the gas companies will tear up the roads, extract the natural gas, and skip town leaving the taxpayers to cover the costs of repairing the roads. People are outraged at the idea that the public will be subsidizing the profits of wealthy multinational corporations - and a few lucky landowners who happen to strike it rich.

Truckers are also sometimes responsible for fracking waste spills.

A thought: If New York State does ban natural-gas drilling only in the New York City watershed without also addressing the trucking-related issues locally, it could be a tough scenario for the region: still at risk for spills and road damage from gas-related traffic through the area, but with no revenue from gas extraction, and no negotiating power at the table with the gas companies.