When it comes to believing research and reports on the environmental impact of fracking in Pennsylvania, state residents believe scientists more than they do environmental groups and the media, a survey from the University of Michigan’s Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
According to the poll, which surveyed 525 Pennsylvania citizens over the phone, 44 percent of respondents believe that the media is overstating fracking’s environmental impacts (compared to the 41 percent who somewhat or strongly disagreed). Of the citizens who were surveyed, 48 percent thought environmental groups were overstating drilling’s effect, while 34 percent think scientists do the same.
On the flip side, 39 percent said they somewhat or strongly disagreed that environmentalists were exaggerating the problem, while 42 percent said the same about scientists.
But in light of all this, 41 percent of respondents said fracking has already offered more benefits than drawbacks, and half said they predicted more pros than cons in the future.
In New York state, residents are also debating whether fracking will help their hometowns, The Buffalo News reports. A recent hearing in Dansville, New York drew more than 850 people who wanted to sound off during the first of eight public comment sessions hosted by the Departmetn of Environmental Conservation.
Many who are in favor of bringing hydraulic fracking to the state focused on the jobs it would create and the economic boom it would provide to New York.
“We’re hurting for jobs. We need this type of activity to create jobs and put people to work,” Robert V. Nichols, a Steuben County legislator and Tuscarora town supervisor, said, as quoted by the newspaper.
An oil and gas drilling executive also assured attendees that the process would be safe and closely monitored.
“We have to understand that the development of the resource in a structured environment in New York is important,” the News quoted John C. Holko – president of Lenape Resources and the secretary of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York – as saying. “It will be done safely. There’s no doubt about it.”