New Paltz ponders gas drilling

A panel discussion of natural-gas drilling at SUNY New Paltz last night drew several hundred people, the Times Herald-Record reports.

Those against it — including New York City and most of the crowd of some 200 Monday night — again said drilling, or specifically, the horizontal drilling technique called "fracking," will pollute the water and scar the pristine land atop the shale.

"The industrialization of the landscape," said Kate Sinding, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, pointing to incidents of pollution in Western states.

Speaking of Sinding: The NRDC lawyer has a blog. In a recent post, she announces a couple of other gas drilling events on her calendar. Tonight she's at Green Drinks at the Hiro Ballroom Manhattan; tomorrow she speaks to the New York City Bar Association. Sinding notes that a couple of years ago, NRDC wasn't sure gas drilling was going to be a big issue for the organization.

Boy, does that seem like a lifetime ago.

Since deciding we needed to get involved in the Marcellus game (based largely on our western colleagues’ admonitions that drilling in the Marcellus Shale would potentially inalterably change the face of New York’s environment), it has become arguably the highest profile environmental issue in the state/region, and certainly one of the most significant in NRDC’s New York region work.