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Book Notes

January 30, 2014

New book a good primer on fracking controversy

(Continued)

He only partly succeeds with this effort although it’s not his fault. With all the hardware and chemicals involved in fracking it can’t help but be mindboggling. But despite the confusion Prud’Homme succeeds in presenting the pros and cons to the basic argument: Fracking does have economic benefits but is the possible damage to the environment worth it?

There are several states in this country that have jumped on the fracking bandwagon. Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, and North Dakota have all embraced fracking and see it as an economic boon. There has been backlash due to the effect on the environment and the sudden influx of temporary workers but it has also had its positive economic effects and added money to the states’ coffers.

New York has taken the opposite tact and resisted it strenuously. We do have our pro-fracking elements but so far the anti-fracking crowd has won the day. The state still doesn’t have full-blown fracking and, as noted earlier, is apparently not likely to have it in this area.

One aspect to the debate that Prud’Homme does not specifically address (nor should he necessarily) is the question of what to do about an area that might be suitable for fracking but also draws residents because of its pristine setting. Many people move here because of the quality of life and the last thing they want is for heavy industry to spoil the landscape. It makes fracking undesirable even without the direct threat to the groundwater.

Whenever money is involved debates tend to be as much emotional as they are rational. It’s easy to understand why farmers who have lost income would be attracted to the leases that fracking provides. It’s also understandable why residents and home owners who love the natural beauty of the area don’t want to see it spoiled.

Hydrofracking cuts through a lot of that emotion and provides a very good understanding of the subject. It’s short, concise and gives the layperson a good premise for what the whole matter entails. It might not change how you feel about fracking, but it certainly will increase your knowledge. I highly recommend it.

David Kent is the director of the Village Library of Cooperstown. He can be reached at co.david@4cls.org.

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Book Notes
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    July 17, 2014

  • MacNeil reading highlights novels Several weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend a talk by Robert MacNeil at the Guilderland Public Library. MacNeil is best known as the former co-host of the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. He retired in 1995 but has continued to write both fiction and non-fiction. His talk at Guilderland focused on two of his novels, "Burden of Desire" written in 1992, and its sequel, "Portrait of Julia," which was published last year.

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    July 3, 2014

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    June 26, 2014

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    June 19, 2014

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    June 12, 2014

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    June 5, 2014

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    May 29, 2014

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    May 22, 2014

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