Portland town officials hear concerns over fracking

BROCTON - Portland town officials engaged in idea sharing with their constituency during their monthly meeting, even though public attendance numbered two individuals.

One of those in attendance was Portland resident Matt Furman, who came in hopes of hearing any further commentary on hydrofracturing, or "fracking," which is on the agenda for the Association of Towns of the State of New York's annual meeting. The board discussed the issue at their January meeting, noting it would be discussed at the upcoming annual meeting, which two town officials plan to attend.

Furman was first introduced to the issue while visiting friends in Ithaca recently, and noticed a fair amount of signage posted throughout the area, and what he calls "washed over" news articles in the region's free news publication. After bringing several articles back home with him, he started independently researching the process, and has been following the journey of the FRAC (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) Act of 2009, comprised of twin bills partially drafted by Sen. Charles Schumer D-N.Y. and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. which seek to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing in certain states and would also require the energy industry to reveal what chemicals are being used in the sand-water mixture. Currently the bill is standing still.

"There are pages and pages of chemicals used in this that are pretty high on the MSDS list," stated Furman.

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