Extra Onions, Please...But Hold the Fracking Fluid

By now the horrific stories of cows mysteriously losing tails, birthing stillborn calves, and even dropping dead have made their rounds. I’ve blogged about the dangers that fracking poses to our food supply before, as has my colleague Amy Mall.


Late last year, Elizabeth Royte also wrote an excellent piece for The Nation, titled “Fracking Our Food Supply”, that explored the potential for drilling operations to contaminate our food.  Supported by dozens of anecdotes of sick livestock from Pennsylvania to North Dakota, it made a strong case that we should indeed be worried. And just last week, the issue came up again when Royte published a version of her Nation story in The Ecologist and highlighted what new fracking in New York State would mean for our growing regional food system. 

“Should the moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State be lifted,” she wrote, “the 16,200-member Park Slope Food Co-op, in Brooklyn, will no longer buy food from farms anywhere near drilling operations.”


But anecdotes and hard facts aside, even consumer perception about food contamination from fracking can affect demand for local food.  And the stories from farmers in the Marcellus region—including fracking victims from Pennsylvania who came to New York last week—along with mounting concerns from health experts, are certainly cause to worry.  So not only do unsafe fracking practices threaten our clean air and water, but by limiting demand for local food they may begin to erode the economic development potential of local food as well.

That is why at NRDC we are working to strengthen our regional food system – including efforts to support sustainable producers in the Catskills. At the same time, our team is fighting for the proper environmental and health reviews to be carried out before any decisions on fracking in New York State are made. And we understand that supporting our local farmers and communities means protecting them from the risks of fracking too—our Community Fracking Defense Project strives to do just that.

You can stay updated on our food and fracking work, and learn how to get involved, by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You can also find us on Instagram, on Tumblr, and at http://www.nrdc.org/newyork.

About the Authors

Mark Izeman

Director, New York program and Senior Attorney

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