Fracking Secrets: Hydraulic Fracturing Still Shrouded in Mystery


As Albany pols weigh the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing, it seems like full disclosure of fracking practices remains iffy.

Shortly after reports surfaced that physicians in Pennsylvania couldn’t publicly discuss info about fracking chemicals, some New Yorkers have started to begging Department of Environmental Conversation staffers to spill secrets about the policymaking process.

Their concern? They think the DEC might not pay much attention to the 66,000 public comments collected during a “proposed state roadmap for hydrofracking,” the Times Union reports. So, they think insider tipsters might be the only way to access data.

Worth mentioning: as the Voice noted in January, the comments don’t have much of a direct impact. Yeah, the DEC has to read them and comment on the more poignant ones, but even if most voiced anti-fracking views, that doesn’t mean the agency would have to ban the practice.

But here’s what just went down: A handful of Frack Action members gathered outside DEC headquarters in the capital on Tuesday, urging staff to “potentially risk their jobs by revealing how DEC is weighing the issue of natural gas hydraulic fracturing.”

They handed out flyers titled “Calling All Whistleblowers” with contact info for the group. Frack Action also hit up DEC offices in New Paltz and plan on visiting branches in Syracuse and Buffalo.

The state can’t legally fire public employees who “reports fraud, wrongdoing or violations of the law, or who reports on an action that represents a danger to public health or safety.”

However, Frack Action doesn’t staff lawyers who could aid would-be whistleblowers if they were unjustly terminated.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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