Film educates students on dangers of hydrofracking

"The Oswego State campus community participated in a nationwide screening of "Gasland," a film by Josh Fox about the environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing on Wednesday.

"Oswego State’s Go Green Team hosted the event to educate the campus community on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling, which is occurring across the U.S. and worldwide.

"Victoria Mamat, vice president of the Go Green Team, believes it is important for students to be educated about "hyrdofracking," another term for hydraulic fracturing.

""A lot of people don’t know what hydrofracking is and how it is affecting us," Mamat said. "It’s happening all over the world."

"Hydraulic fracturing is the extraction of natural gas through deep drilling. Water and chemicals are injected at a high pressure, which fractures the shale, allowing natural gas to flow freely. According to the film, the natural gas can flow into the surrounding the area, contaminating it.

"Alisia Engle, president of the Go Green Team, has done research on the topic of natural gas drilling, but has not taken a side. There was recently a hydrofracking panel at Oswego State presenting each side: pro-hyrdofracking, pro-regulation and anti-hydrofracking.

""You walk around and ask students about it [hydrofracking] and they don’t know what it is," Engle said. "I’m pro-education, I’m not on either side."

"Several families shown in the documentary said their well water "started bubbling and fizzing" after drilling began on their leased property and others showed how their water lit on fire from the chemicals that got into drinking water supplies.

""Gasland" discusses the 2005 policy often called the Halliburton Loophole, which was put into effect by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who was the CEO of Halliburton, an energy company that partakes in natural gas drilling. This policy exempted the natural gas industry from the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, which ensures clean drinking water free of both natural and man-made contaminates.

"The Halliburton Loophole gave companies the freedom to not disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

"Over 80,000 pounds of chemicals are typically injected into the earth’s crust during hydrofracking, which emits Nitrogen Oxide and volatile organic compounds resulting in destructive surface smog. These chemicals are mixed with millions of gallons of water that become contaminated and must be disposed of.

"The New York State Assembly passed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until mid-May to allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to continue its study on the environmental effects of natural gas drilling and to ensure that water resourses are protected. As of now, hydrofracking companies can lease land in New York, but cannot drill.

"The moratorium has been sent to Gov. David Paterson’s desk and awaits his signature. If he does not sign it by the end of his term, it will be up to newly elected Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign or oppose the moratorium.

"New York is the only state government in the world to create a moratorium to prevent hydrofracting in the state, Engle said.

"The Go Green Team is trying to promote the benefits of living green and educating students, faculty and staff about environmental issues. There is a kiosk in the Campus Center, where each week information is provided to anyone interested in current environmental issues.

"According to Rebecca Nadzadi, Campus Center Programming Coordinator, the more people know about environmental issues and living green, the more responsible people will become, which is beneficial for the future.

""Being green is not just a trend, it is a lifestyle and for too long we, as a society, have ignored the harmful effects of our everyday living on the environment," Nadzadi said.

"The Go Green Team will be hosting another event, Carrotmob on Monday Dec. 6 at Canales restaurant from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is $8 for an all-you-can-eat buffet and 30 percent of proceeds will go towards Oswego States Go Green Team for a commercial energy audit.

"Carrotmob is a nation wide network promoting companies to make social and environmental improvements. The company to make the most changes is rewarded by having the Carrotmob network show up and spend money to support them.

"Mamat believes these events are important for students to help become involved with the campus and community in issues that will be affecting them in their future.

""We try to connect the college and surrounding community in an effort to spread environmental issue awareness," Mamat said. "Participation is key in making a difference on campus and in the communities that we live in."