And then, apparently, nursed along by other feverish media outlets.
@NYS_DEC Have you read the @wamcnews story? Are they - and/or Riverkeeper - wrong about frac brine being used on NYS roads?
— Watershed Post (@watershedpost) December 10, 2013
Close readers may note that the original Capital New York claims are impaired by some fairly well known, internally conflicted knowledge. On the one hand, high-volume hydraulic fracturing in tight shales — also known as "fracking" — has been widely reported as still-under-ban in New York (and actually never before proposed in this state by industry, at least prior to Feb. 2008).
According to opponents, when it suits their argument, fracking is a brand-new, dangerous technology that's been wisely put under moratorium in NY, and hasn't yet been given a full environmental review — in fact, something which really can't ever be done, by their reckoning.
However, these "facts" change when it suits a different argument. Capital New York's Scott Waldman was effortlessly conned by Riverkeeper into reporting this road-deicing "fracking waste" is coming from 6,000 oil and gas wells that have already been drilled and fracked in New York!
So which is it? Does NY frack or not? Really, it looks like these Politico guys might have totally missed the really great scoop, hiding in the story, right in plain sight, the whole time:
New York Has Been Fracking for Last 50 Years! Film at 11!
Of course, it turns out to be true that many of these old-school, mostly vertical wells in New York were completed over many past years by the always-and-still-permissable technology of low-volume hydraulic fracture — also known as "fracking" — a historical fact that proponents of domestic fossil fuels have been trying unsuccessfully to get across to the public for some time now.
So, if you're still confused by any of this, my only remaining advice is to simply get a copy of the latest dictionary of modern persuasion. Mine shows that all watery waste produced from any oil and gas well — even a 50-year-old vertical that may have never been fracked to stimulate production — has now been helpfully re-defined as "fracking waste."
Or maybe the remaining confusion is because environmentalists and journalists don't know — or don't care to know — the geologic origin of the primary road de-icer known as rock salt, spread on roads during winter by most northeastern state and local highway departments.
It's deep shit.
For further assistance on the origin of rock salt, I've loaded up top a helpful fact sheet plucked from the DEC Minerals Division's latest (2011!) annual report. To make this fully legible, you'll have to click it into a new window and zoom around — or you can get the original here.