Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Landman Cometh

Columbia Journalism Review
The News frontier
December 1, 2011 03:36 PM                       
By Alysia Santo

Innovation Trail and other New York outlets help readers prepare for fracking prospectors

LAND FOR SALE: Oil and gas
operation, what operation?
Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s the “landman,” offering quick cash to extract natural gas on your property using a technique called hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” Please take a look at this colorful brochure.

It’s a scene that has played out above gas-rich shale formations across the United States. Long before the environmental and public health risks of fracking attracted widespread media attention, thousands signed over their land, a decision some are trying to take back. In the last year, the farmlands of upstate New York have been a particular hotbed for debate.

The state’s de facto ban on fracking, implemented in 2008, has curtailed drilling while the Department of Environmental Conservation researches fracking’s pros and cons. Arguments, and coverage, have intensified as the department has moved closer to a decision, recently inviting public input on the proposed regulations.

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