Hydraulic fracturing - or "fracking" as more commonly known - has come to my attention from state Sen. Cathy Young's questionnaire. It asks: if I'm for it, against it, or undecided. This is, of course, in addition to other questions pertinent to New York state. Well, I'm for it.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the process of using high-pressure liquids and other substances into deep pockets within the earth in order to extract or force natural gas and oil into wells or other storage facilities.
This has the benefits of: alleviating our dependency upon foreign resources; creating a home industry of thriving employment, decent paying jobs, and fostering economic growth within the work region and outlying areas.
However, there are also environmental risks in this process. But these risks have always been with us in any endeavor when we disrupt nature to garner products to benefit us; many of them to insure our survival, as coal for heat and power, the same for natural gas, and water; for silver and gold to accumulate economic independence and wealth, forests for homes and shelter, dams erected and waterways dug.
At one time when our nation was young and growing, we turned our backs on any prospective hazards and barreled full steam ahead and built our nation into a world leader. Eventually, as we became comfortable and settled there was an awareness of our environment and we took time to study any developers' proposals that may alter it.
But, New York state (not known as the "nanny" state for nothing), has promulgated overbearing regulations and restrictions to the point that environmentally intrusive projects are too prohibitive and costly for developers and they pull out.
We need our legislators to take charge and awaken Albany out of its lethargy and get on with the growth of New York - not its demise. If our present government mindset was around when the Erie Canal and the steam engine were being proposed, progress would still be delayed in committee and we'd be hauling our goods by mule trains and oxen upon dirt roads.
Ralph Burke is a Dunkirk resident.