Drilling for Gas in the Catskills vs. Pollution Problems in NY State and Mining Procedures Oil and gas are some of the most precious commodities ever discovered by man. Numerous wars have been fought to secure exclusive rights of access to these resources. Modern technologies and all sectors of the economy virtually depend on oil products to run. Sadly, oil is a major contributor to environmental pollution and global warming. In this paper, I will examine pollution problems in New York State arising from oil and gas drilling activities in Catskills.
I will also evaluate regulator structures introduced to address the problem then conclude by suggesting what needs to be done to protect environment from these exploration activities According to Bruce and Grossman (500), one of the most published and a controversial kind of pollution is one resulting from gas and petroleum products. Their article states that while municipal and industrial effluents be recycled and rendered harmless to environment, the numerous oil spills that take place while the product is in transit leave devastating effects on environment.
Bruce and Grossman (500) reported that over 200 cases of oil spill to waterways are recorded in New York every year. I believe these cases contribute to property damage, compromise the quality of water and destroy wildlife. No one can deny the devastating effects of oil spill on environment and the need for mitigating measure. For example, Turney and Thompson point out the new regulations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) that compelled U. S petroleum and gas drillers to adopt better methods with regards to handling, storing and disposal of hazardous wastes (446).
Moreover, Navaro reported that New York State environment officials had decided to enforce stricter laws on a contentious type of natural gas drilling in the upstate region that provides most of the city’s drinking water. According to Bruce and Grossman, the border area between New York and Pennsylvania has many oil and gas drilling activities where crude oil is gathered in a common pipe system that is used by numerous other wells (502).
They stated that pipeline breakages and overflows from receiving contributed to the release of bulky quantities of crude oil to surface water (502). There are a number of cleanup techniques employed in the event of oil spill. Bruce and Grossman discuss some of them in their journal. The majority of oil pollution problems in New are as a result of relatively smaller spills. According to the two writers, one method used is containment and involves the use of plastic retaining booms. Once the oil spill is enclosed, it is removed and disposed properly (Bruce & Grossman 503).
Turney and Thomson reported that acid mine drainage (AMD) were identified as an economic and environmental burden to the mining industry (447). For instance, the U. S Bureau of Mines designed a low maintenance system to eliminate heavy metals from AMD. The system eradicated arsenic, chromium, aluminum, gold, copper and numerous other metals from water (Turney & Thomson 447). The system was thus able to improve the quality of effluent water and even surpassed set standards for drinking water. Underground disposal of pollutants from coal and uranium mining have also affect quality of ground water.
According to the Water Environment Research journal, water stabilization pond system was selected as the most effective technique for treatment of industrial effluents. A process of eliminating base metal complexes from industrial effluents utilized Sulphure dioxide and air that was dissolved in the waste using a well-agitated ship. The acid generated during the oxidation was neutralized by lime at a pH of about 7-10 (Turney & Thomson 447). The system was thus able to cope with fluctuating biologically toxic compound and organic loads.
According to the journal written by Bruce and Grossman, not all cleanup methods are effective. For instance, both writers state that it is almost impractical to contain large scale oil spill on wide stretches of water. It is not feasible to gather and apply materials such as rock, dust or other inert matters on spacious water bodies (503). Huge oil spill that drifts to shore can cause extensive damage to environment and economic activities. Usually, contaminated beach sand are replaced by clean sand and docks and ship must be cleaned manually.
On the other hand, contaminated rocks and weed beds can only rely on nature’ slow cleaning process (504). Lack of effective ways to control large scale oil spill thus spells doom on the marine world and global efforts towards the realization of environmental sustainability. However, legislations are currently in place to mitigate environmental pollutions associated with oil and gas drilling activities in New York. For example, Navarro’s article elucidates the efforts by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection to protect the City’s drinking water from effluents emanating from oil and gas drilling activities.
The laws proposed by the department will guarantee protection for watershed from drilling companies. According to the article, over 8. 1 million New Yorkers consume water from the Catskills watershed while the Skaneateles Lake supply water to over 199,900 people in Syracuse (Navarro). According to Navarro’s article, the agency’s proposed regulation did not advocate for a ban on drilling activities in water sheds, but had grave reservations concerning whether gas and oil drilling activities in New York’s watershed is consistent with long term vision of maintenance of high quality water supply.
The significance of environmental regulations to mitigate pollution as reported by Navarro is also highlighted in the journal written by Bruce and Grossman. According to their journal, oil spills have affected supply of water to industries (503). Their journal contains a report on a paper mill that was temporarily closed because contaminated water could not be used. In another case, a pharmaceutical company had to stall its operations pending the cleaning of its intake structures and sand filters (Bruce & Grossman 503). When an oil spill occurs, it may blend with as it enters a water intake.
The journal: Mineral and Mine Drainage outlines some measures taken to address pollution cases such as those illustrated by Bruce and Grossman. The Clean Air Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Safe Drinking water Act are few examples of laws enacted to control all oil and gas drilling activities not only in New York environs but within the entire federal jurisdiction (Turney & Thomson 446). Therefore the enactment of federal laws is critical if environmental pollution emanating from exploration activities is to be controlled.
Because of mounting public awareness of the dangers of oil spills on the safety of drinking water and environment in general, federal and state legislators must begin to take the problem seriously. “Protecting New York’s water supplies must be our top priority,” says Cas Holloway, Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (Navarro). Time has come for all countries to adopt legislations that will regulate oil and gas exploration activities.
The laws must also address how these precious commodities are transported, be it by sea or land, in order to protect environment from pollution. Works cited Bruce, Willard A. , and Grossman Irving. Oil-A New York State Pollution Problem. 18. 4 (1970): 500-505. Print. Navarro, Mireya. “Drilling for Gas in Catskills. ” New York Times 24 April. 2010: A1203. Web. 15 May. 2010. Turney, William R. , and Thomson, Bruce M. Mineral and Mine Drainage: Environmental Impacts and Regulations. June, 1992: 446-448. Print