Thursday, November 5, 2009

Organic Farming Association Raises Concerns About Hydrofracking

An organic farming association has raised concerns about hydrofracking, a specific method of natural gas drilling that involves pumping millions of gallons of water, plus sand and chemicals, into wells to crack open rock and release the fossil fuel within.

"Overall, we're against drilling of any kind," says Lea Kone, assistant director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY).  Farming depends on clean water, soil, and air -- and anything that impacts those factors is a concern for farmers, she explains.

Water for hydrofracking can be drawn from aquifers, which are limited. "In theory, people's well water can be swallowed up," Kone says. "Landowners often don't realize that when they sign a lease, they sign away both their gas rights and their water rights, which can also affect their neighbors."

Plus, Kone adds, hydrofracking is specifically exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, despite the many chemicals used in the drilling process.  Some of the chemical combinations have been described as "breathtakingly toxic" and "terrible environmental poisons" by one scientist working on the issue.

NOFA-NY specifically supports legislation that requires gas companies to reveal all drilling chemicals.  Over the summer, legislation was introduced in Congress to control drilling and protect drinking water.

"We support HR 2766, FRAC Act (Fracing Awareness and Responsibility Act), which would repeal the exemption of hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act, and require the public listing of all chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluid."

Additionally, NOFA-NY supports "passage of state legislation that would require oil and gas drilling companies to report publicly all chemicals used to drill oil and gas wells, and how and where waste material and products are disposed of. We support the passage of state legislation that prohibits the use of water from acquifers for the purpose of oil and gas drilling or fracing."


  1. Chesapeake Energy Corporation supports the Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision to have all hydraulic fracturing vendors register their products and reveal the chemicals used in them.

    We applaud the process they have undertaken (in New York) and believe it to be a good model for other states. In fact, Chesapeake has already disclosed the frac chemicals it uses on its own website at and also at, which are both accessible to anyone interested in knowing the ingredients of the hydraulic fracturing operations utilized in Chesapeake’s natural gas wells.

    If you have any questions about hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling or groundwater protection on Chesapeake gas wells, visit or follow @FracFacts on Twitter and we'll do our best to answer them. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the info, Blake. The website you mention,, is full of lots of useful info.

  3. Beware of FracFacts, my friend. They won't give you the entire story. They specialize in half-truths. There is a real risk to organic farming from toxic waste spills via high volume, hydrofracking that HAS NOT previously been done in this area, in spite of what the gas companies want you to believe. The new type of drilling planned for the area will use vast quantities of water, nearly 3 million gallons per frack job, and these wells can be fractured multiple times. Nothing has been resolved with respect to where all this water will come from, or how it may be returned to the environment once the drilling is completed. It is highly toxic both before and after the drilling process.

    The current draft DEP report has provided loopholes by which the drilling companies can still use open pits for storing their toxic fracking water. If these pits flood or fail, they WILL contaminate your crops if you are in the path of the run off.

    Please consider following me on twitter as well, @lovecanal2020 as I try to provide another, more environmentally friendly perspective.

  4. Thanks for your perspective, LoveCanal2020. Another useful website is this one, well-reported stories by an independent non-profit journalism organization: