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GUEST VIEW By Harvey Albond

To Frack or not to Frack, that is NOT the question before the Niagara Falls Water Board. Fracking is a State of New York issue to be determined by such state agencies as the DEC in cooperation with the municipalities affected by these extractive operations.

The decision by local government, specifically the Niagara Falls Water Board, deals with the question of treatment of the chemically active waste water used in the Fracking process. Such treatment cannot take place without the approval of New York State's Departments and Agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency even as is the present treatment of chemical wastes. The Niagara Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant is operated by the Niagara Falls Water Board. It should not be confused with the Niagara Falls Water Plant. It is significantly distant and downstream from the Water Plant's intakes. It was constructed as a unique activated carbon plant to treat the extreme chemical wastes from Niagara Falls' industrial base consisting of Electro-Chemical and Carbon products from such industries as Hooker Chemical(now Occidental), Union Carbide, Olin Chemical, DuPont, etc. I wrote the grant application.

It was expensive to build and expensive to operate. It not only served the industrial base of that time, but was regarded as an economic development resource to retain jobs and recruit new industrial users. Niagara Falls' loss of 37,000 manufacturing jobs has had a profound impact on the Waste Water Treatment Plant. This massive loss of well-paying jobs is directly responsible for the City of Niagara Falls population loss of 50,000 people from 101,000 to the present population of 50,000. The loss of industrial users has created a high cost to the surviving residents and businesses.

There are always radical elements within any social movement who adopt the morally questionable concept that the end justifies the means. In the instance of the use of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, they are in reality opposed to the Fracking process. They see an opportunity to stopping Fracking by denying treatment of Fracking Wastes. They are not concerned about the operation of a plant designed for such waste nor for the benefits to local municipalities. Their weapon of choice is fear. "Our drinking water will be polluted." The Niagara River will be polluted." "Trucks carrying the waste water may have accidents." "We don't need another Love Canal." (How little they know about the Love Canal). Reductio ad absurdum . A form of argumentation in which absurd, unproven and unlikely premises are put forth as facts. As President Roosevelt stated: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

I am convinced that Fracking will be approved in New York State. It constitutes not only an economic opportunity for New York State, but has a profound impact on the National Security of the United States. We are war, militarily and politically over the question of energy. The natural gas of the Marcellus Shale and the oil sands of Alberta in Canada along with consumer conservation and renewable energy development can make North America energy independent.

How long must we tolerate paying for oil and gas to people who do not like us and use our money against us? Our loss of our greatest resource, 4,000 brave young men, was for oil, to say nothing of the drain of our national treasury that has brought our nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Nov. 22, 2011