A Fracking Film As Cuomo Deadline Nears

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Driving through much of upstate New York, you’d think there was an election on, what with all the lawn signs and banners supporting or opposing increased use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—in New York State.

Supporters say the method (which entails injecting a pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals deep into underground shale formations to create tiny cracks that then release natural gas) is safe; what’s more, they say permitting far wider use of the method will create jobs in depressed Empire State counties and help reduce reliance on other, more problematic fuel sources.

Opponents, pointing to serious problems that have cropped up in other states where fracking has been aggressively employed, say the method poses unacceptable threats to the environment—in particular, to groundwater. This concerns New York City because its large watershed overlaps with the massive Marcellus Shale, the geological formation that gas companies want to tap into.

On Monday, the divisive issue will be on screen as the Museum of the City of New York shows the documentary film “Gasland,” which explores the environmental, social, and political complexities surrounding hydraulic fracturing. The film starts at 6:30 p.m., reservations are required and those who mention “City Limits” get a ticket discount.

The showing comes as fracking approaches a crossroads. A six-month ban on most franking that Gov. Paterson imposed as he left office ends in July. Gov. Cuomo has yet to take a firm position on the issue, which the EPA is still studying.

Trailor for Gasland