Scary past lessons from fracking

I must reply to the recent commentary “No incentive for short cuts” (July 6) on hydraulic fracturing, and how safe it is in New York state.

The article brought back tragic memories to all of us involved, when it stated, “There was only one documented case of migration of methane into a fresh water supply!” The writer later says “it is an excellent record in anyone’s book!”

What were the results of this one tragic incident? The Roberts Road landfill was taken over by the city of Dunkirk, and the town of Dunkirk. It was to earn money for both places only to be used for Chautauqua County residents. It now belongs to our county! Again our county government let us down, as they are trying to do again. They let other counties dispose of their wastes in our landfill.

Am I right? It then stood 91 feet high. The pressure was so great, it pressed down like a coffee percolator! On this side of the landfill a gas well was drilled. The great pressure broke the bed-rock, and naturally the flow from the landfill was on its way, polluting 39 wells.

I lived at Farmingdale and Middle roads. It was like Niagara Falls, underground.

It explains it, because from the landfill, there was 35-foot drop and another 15-foot drop to Middle Road. The county Health Department stood beside us residents when the water wells were reported polluted.

We could not drink the water and had to go to relatives in Dunkirk to fill milk jugs with water! I still remember each jug of water weighed eight pounds. This was also in the Blizzard of 1977! Imagine families with one jug of water during this terrible snow storm.

Also, children could not be bathed in the water. Children came down with hepatitis. We even lost a person with kidney problems. It went on and on till the federal Environmental Protection Agency stepped in! Our problem was going on the same time Love Canal was.

The Roberts Road landfill is almost gone, but the damage lingers on. Look at the cancer rate in our area. The county put regular sewer pipes along Roberts Road to the Wright Beach in First Ward. There was drainage from the landfill along Hyde Creek to Lake Erie. We must never use hydraulic fracturing in our state. Our fresh water in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie, would be ruined!

Remember when we closed West Valley because it sits on an earthquake line? This is also true, with your fracturing, in all of New York state. We can’t take the chance. Look what it has done to Pennsylvania and Ohio.

This is only the beginning for them. Yes, Mother Nature has the control, and if an earthquake happens, then what? There’s no way to fix the problem. Remember our safe drinking water source must be protected at all costs because water is a necessity for life.

We are proud to have a New York state Lake Erie Environmental Conservation Station at Point Gratiot watching our Lake Erie, especially for the fishermen. It was put into use around 1980.

We are now going to get federal and state help for a lab and boat to watch for pollution and security. We are so thankful Gov. Andrew Cuomo stands behind us and continues to do so! There is no safe way of drilling today. Earthquakes. Look at our weather conditions and jet stream weather conditions of today. No money is worth it today, to fix the damage it can do.

Help close the wounds of the past. Haven’t we suffered enough? And what about Chautauqua County wanting control of the regional Dunkirk Water Filter Plant to supply good drinking water through all of its county.

After seeing on TV that our oil and gas is being sold to other countries through ships at the borders? We cannot take the chance of a disaster by an earthquake with Mother Nature in control.

Thank you and God bless!

Valerie Pawlak is a Dunkirk resident and a member of the Great Lakes Council.