Citing threats to food safety and agriculture from gas drilling, national farming organizations, and local farming communities took actions this week against hydrofracking.
From the Canadian National Farmers Union, “Hydraulic fracturing a danger to water, food, farmland: NFU calls for moratorium.” The National Farmers Union is first large, national agricultural organization to make a clear statement that fracking for gas represents a threat to food safety, agriculture, and farmer health. The NFU represents thousands of family farms across Canada.
The National Farms Union’s press release is worth reading in full. Here are some excerpts:
“We are in the heart of Alberta’s oil and gas country where our ability to produce good, wholesome food is at risk of being compromised by the widespread, virtually unregulated use of this dangerous process.”
“Farmers across Canada largely depend on ground water aquifers for both domestic use and livestock production. The quality of ground water is critical to raising high quality food. Unfortunately in the experience of too many Alberta farmers and ranchers hydraulic fracturing has been associated with water well contamination and damage. That is why our organization is calling for a moratorium on this technique until these problems can be addressed.”
Meanwhile, in rural upstate NY, farming towns are banning hydrofracking with local laws. Last week, before passing a ban in the Town of Jerusalem in the Finger Lakes region the town supervisor Daryl Jones made a statement including
“Most important to me was the research and analysis that presented facts that fracking as it is currently done is not safe. It is not safe for the waters we drink. It is not safe for the crops we grow and the produce we eat. It is not safe for the livestock we raise. And it is not safe for the waters of Keuka Lake in which our children and grandchildren swim, fish and play.”
Jerusalem and surrounding towns have strong agricultural economies, including dairies, grain producers, and some of the largest organic farms in the northeast. Several of these towns are poised to ban gas drilling.
Also last week, Dryden, another agricultural town on nearby Lake Cayuga, won a court case that challenged its ban on gas drilling, supporting the power of NY towns to ban fracking.