John Tummino Assignment 4a: Onondaga County Hydrofracking Bans

Many Central New York residents find the topic of hydrofracking to be a controversial topic to broach. Hydrofracking is the process by which water is pumped at high pressures deep into the sediment in order to release natural gas that is trapped beneath.

While proponents of hydrofracking say it is a cheap and effective way of obtaining energy, its detractors say it is terrible for the environment. And likewise, while some communities have opened their arms to those who wish to frack, others have slammed the door shut by enacting bans on hydrofracking within their borders.

Onondaga County sits atop the Marcellus Shale, which extends through much of Appalachia, rising above the ground in Marcellus (which is why it is called the Marcellus Shale). In Onondaga County, there are 12 towns that have banned hydrofracking. You can see which ones they are and when they enacted the bans on the map below:

As you can see, half the towns banned fracking only last year, four full years after the first town in Onondaga County (Camillus) did so. In an ironic twist, it turns out Marcellus is one of the towns that has imposed a hydrofracking ban.

Back in June, New York’s highest court gave these bans teeth by ruling that cities and towns can block hydraulic fracking within their borders. This ruling comes ahead of Governor Cuomo’s decision on whether or not to uphold a statewide moratorium on hydrofracking that has been in place since 2008. That decision will ultimately make or break the practice of fracking not just in Onondaga County, but in the entire state.

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