To Mitigate

Here is mitigation at work.

Here is mitigation at work.

To mitigate:

 1. To make less severe, intense, harsh, rigorous, painful,
        etc.; to soften; to meliorate; to alleviate; to diminish;
        to lessen…

Mitigate is a favorite word of the natural gas industry because it sounds scientific and important – like they are really doing something to make gas drilling safe. But in truth mitigate is a cover up word. There are risks to gas drilling. After all, fracking is a complex industrial practice involving dangerous machinery and chemicals. And, of course, people are involved, and people, as we all know, make mistakes.  As the gas industry supported Shale Resources and Society Institute states:

“Some upstream negative externalities of natural gas production are unavoidable. They involve the clearing of land for well pads and pipelines; local congestion due to truck traffic; and noise and dust…the sheer presence of gas wells has effects on the ecosystem. Environmental hazards associated with natural gas production are infrequent, but can lead to contamination of local water supplies and impairment of air quality.”

When things go wrong, the companies know they can’t undo the damage. They can’t return things to the way they were before – so they mitigate them. And how do they mitigate these risks?  Well, as noted above mitigate means to lessen, not fix.

So if your water well is poisoned, the gas company can’t clean your well and make it like it was. It’s ruined forever! So they mitigate it by providing you with a large plastic water drum [called a water buffalo] and fill it with water for washing. But it’s undrinkable (Hmm – do you want to wash in undrinkable water?). And you have to buy your own bottled water to drink.

So if there is noise, and light, and dust, and dirt, and plumes of benzene in the air, they can’t stop drilling so they mitigate it, as the Shale Resources and Society Institute says, through “Lease and bonus payments to landowners or direct outlays by companies to repair infrastructure damage caused by gas drilling activity compensate for most of these impacts.” In other words, you are given money in exchange for your health.

So here’s our choice New Yorkers. Allow fracking and have the damage done mitigated OR Ban Fracking in New York and not worry about being mitigated at all. Which do you choose?

Call Cuomo today and say BAN FRACKING NOW! 866-584-6799


About joan koster

Joan Koster writes historical fiction about forgotten women. She is currently working on a novel about abolition and woman's rights during the Civil War.
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