Fault lines in fracking opposition

Peter Applebome, the Our Towns columnist at the New York Times, has a nuanced article out this week about how the controversial issue of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has split the environmental movement down the middle, particularly in the Catskills.

Applebome explores the fact that mainstream environmental groups like the Sierra Club have not called for an outright ban on natural gas drilling in New York, and that a bunch of relatively scrappy, regional groups like Catskill Mountainkeeper, Frack Action and Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy have arisen to do so instead. Here's one of the most extreme anti-fracking points of view in the story:

Claire Sandberg was one of the two founders of Frack Action, which started up in 2010 largely because some antifracking activists worried that established environmentalists seemed resigned to living with gas drilling.

“I think the national groups got themselves in a real bind,” she said. “They entered into a marriage of convenience with natural gas because it was too daunting to try to take on coal and gas at the same time. Now they find themselves with a mutiny on their hands.”

“It’s time for the environmental movement to grow a spine,” she added.

The column is timed to remind everyone that the New York State's deadline for public comments on its draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement is tomorrow.