This survey was included in the June 1, 2013 newsletter. The response rate was extremely low, rendering it statistically invalid, but it was interesting nonetheless.
First, about 90% of the respondents have formed their “FINAL OPINION” on whether or not Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) should occur or not in NYS. About 80% believe a family or friend will be affected by Fracking.
Some of the issues related to Fracking that respondents feel need more discussion, in no particular order, include:
- The environmental benefits of natural gas displacing coal for electricity generation.
- The geopolitical impact of the US having a secure energy source.
- Several mentioned, various aspects of health as being their main concern, including water pollution, methane emissions, and air pollution.
- Impact on long term survivability in a low energy society trying to cope with overpopulation and environmental pollution issues.
- Financial exploitation in various forms.
- Long-term energy needs, energy independence, and global warming issues.
- Infrastructure development degrading roads and property values, and the use of eminent domain to secure right-of-way.
- Excessive use of water in the Fracking process.
The vast majority feel our public officials are not acting in our best long-term interests AND would like to be able to vote directly on the Fracking issue.
Every single respondent is concerned about the background of the people delivering information on Fracking. I think this respondent said it best: “I feel there is a sad lacking of honest discourse on this subject. But industry and (perhaps to a greater extent) anti-fracking people pick, chose, spin (and in some cases make-up) their information. I decide whether to trust information based upon the quality of information given - I do not trust information marked by polemics, hyperbole and ad hominem attacks.”
Most would like to know, at least, if there is a financial relationship between the author and the interested parties. Also, several mentioned they would like to know the qualifications of the authors,
Surprisingly, about 70% said they would like a forum where they could comment and interact with area experts on Fracking issues. I say surprisingly because remember about 90% said they have already formed their final opinion! A little more than half felt it would be helpful if OEIC provided such a forum; most of the rest were undecided. Finally, I found it most heartening that nearly 80% said they would participate in some manner in such a discussion. For those volunteering to help, if you haven't contacted me about what you might provide to this discussion please do so, as I cannot tell who the survey respondents are!
With your help, I’m am going to try to encourage an honest, fact-based discussion of the many issues related to Fracking. I understand that there are strong feelings on both sides and can only hope that a polite sharing of data, expertise, views and opinions will help the minority who have not yet made up their minds decide what is best or perhaps the lesser of evils.