Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gone Fishin'

I’m taking a brief Labor Day break, with one eye on my computer and smart phone. In the absence of breaking news related to Dimock or the New York SGEIS, you might not hear from me for a few days as I catch my breath in anticipation of a busy September, which includes keeping up with the shale gas story and a week-long book tour that takes me to points in Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York.

In the meantime, I offer this report from WSKG’s Matt Richmond. Matt follows volunteers testing water quality in the rivers of New York’s Southern Tier in anticipation of shale gas development. By establishing pre-industry baselines with empirical data, impacts on watersheds can be measured over time. The long-term project would offer field data rather than speculation and modeling. As one volunteer notes: “Catastrophes are not really hard to spot, we know when there’s been an explosion or a big spill.” Less easy to track are cumulative impacts that happen subtly, but which can push natural systems beyond ecological tipping points. With more than 70,000 miles of streams in New York, the volunteers, lead by the Sierra Club, have their work cut out for them.

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