MAMARONECK, N.Y. Jeffrey Levin is concerned about New York State allowing the practice called hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, to drill for natural gas.
Tuesday night, the Scarsdale resident attended a lecture and Q-and-A session on the controversial topic held at the Mamaroneck Library by the Larchmont/Mamaroneck League of Women Voters (LWV).
Several members of the standing-room only audience learned about the practice by watching the 2010 documentary Gasland. But Levin said he has been familiar with it for years. He attended Tuesday's event to learn more about the practice from guest speaker Albert Appleton, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Preservation.
"Fracking is about the past against the future," said Appleton, who supports funding green energy. "It's hard to give up on a success, but fossil fuel is no longer a success. We now have alternatives."
The environmental consultant explained that fracking involves injecting mass quantities of a chemical fluid underground in order to create enough pressure to shatter rock layers and release pockets of natural gas. To do that, he said, requires a chemical that turns the fracking fluid poisonous.
While proponents of fracking argue it creates thousands of jobs and makes the nation more energy independent, those opposed, like Appleton, argue the environmental impact, particularly contamination of fresh water sources, would be too severe.
"The profit is minimal compared to the costs that we will be stuck paying, and by 'we', I mean the taxpayers," Levin said.
The NYS Department of Environment Conservation released a revised, 1,500-page report on its environmental impact Sept. 7. The public has until Dec. 12 to comment.
Levin said he hasn't read the impact report, but the potential health and economic impacts concern him.
Appleton and Elisabeth Radow, president of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck LWV, not only urged people to write letters to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo to speak out against fracking, but prepared drafts for those in attendance to sign and send in. The LWV's effort is in support of a letter-writing campaign called " A Million Fracking Letter .