Finger Lakes Wineries Concerned About Fracking

It's not just the natural beauty of the wine region that's threatened by gas drilling, wineries say
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The fracking debate in the state of New York is now getting doused in wine: the Finger Lakes wine region is piping up, and saying that gas drilling could destroy the tourism-building industry. 

The Associated Press reports on the movement started by the Finger Lakes wineries, who have joined forces with the New Yorkers Against Fracking to ban fracking in the state. The region sits on the Utica and Marcellus shale formations, which are like gold for fracking — and are already being tapped across the border in Pennsylvania. The wineries are concerned that a couple of missteps, like an chemical spill in a lake, would begin to tarnish the reputation the Finger Lakes has become known for. "If the drilling does come to the Finger Lakes, what I can see happening in a heartbeat given a couple of accidents, all of the sudden the consumers are going to say, 'Are your vineyards near any wells?'" said Peter Saltonstall of King Ferry Winery to the AP. 

Plus, as the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle notes in an editorial, the environmental impact of fracking damages much more than just the wineries — it's also the livestock, produce, and water at risk. "What should horrify every New Yorker is that much of the produce, fruit, and foodstuffs that are sent to our downstate neighbors or consumed in western New York will come from lands and waters that are targeted by hydrofrack drilling," it says. 

Those in favor of fracking in New York say that the tourism and environemtal industries have long coexisted together, and that fracking should not harm the wineries upstate. Plus, many hope that fracking will bring more jobs upstate. Still, as Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to review the impact of fracking in the state, we say it's better to go tour the Finger Lakes wineries sooner rather than later. 

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