It seems fracking is causing all sorts of tension between residents of small communities:
The dispute has pitted neighbor against neighbor, and has often set people who live in suburbs or villages against the farmers and landowners who live outside them. The discord is compounded by hard times on both sides and by communication online giving everyone instant access to limitless information confirming their point of view.
And if gas companies have the power and money, fracking opponents, who are concerned about ecological threats like the possible contamination of drinking water, often have the numbers and the intensity to dominate local discourse. “There’s no arguing with a person who is opposed to hydrofracking,” said Bill Michaels, a councilman in the Town of Otsego, which includes parts of Cooperstown. After waiting to take a position, he eventually supported changes to the town’s land-use law that would prohibit fracking, but he still faces opposition from a slate of antifracking candidates. “There is no debate or conversation,” he added. “This is so important to so many people it’s pretty much hijacked everything else.”
I’ve seen that happen around here. I know one person whose land is surrounded by farmland owned by someone who lives in another state, and that owner decided to cash in and allow fracking. This, of course, has infuriated the homeowner, because she actually has to live there and is infuriated by the destruction of the gas companies and is worried her well water will be poisoned. As it is, there isn’t much she can do, other than pay to have her well water monitored constantly so that if her water does become poisoned, she will have a chain of evidence. That won’t give her clean drinking water, but it will give her a little bit of ammunition to fight the big money lawyers representing the gas companies.