Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Will NY put a 1-year Moratorium on Fracking?

Yesterday a bill that would put a one-year moratorium on new natural gas drilling permits in New York received the backing of key lawmakers in the State Senate and Assembly. The bill would suspend - until June 1, 2011- hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of natural gas. The process, which locals refer to as "fracking" has been the source of much controversy between pro-drilling landowners and those landowners who would like to see the state adopt more environmental protections.

The chairmen of the Environmental Conservation committees, Sen. Antoine Thompson, D-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, D-Babylon, Suffolk County,  are sponsoring the bill.  The measure passed the Senate Environmental Conservation committee on Monday, but it was unclear if or when it would be brought to a vote of the full Legislature.

According to press reports, Thompson said NY needs more time to draft regulations and other laws that will be needed to ensure any drilling is done safely.  "If it's going to be done, it has to be done in a responsible way," Thompson said.

This isn't the only legislation to deal with drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation. Earlier this month, the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee passed a measure that would enact a moratorium for 120 days after a federal environmental-impact study on the practice is finalized. 

No one should be surprised that the industry opposes such measures.  Brad Gill, executive director of  Independent Oil & Gas Industry- NY (IOGA) told the press that  "What New York needs now is leadership toward a new energy economy for our state, rather than another bill rife with inaccuracies and false assumption." 

Having listened to Brad Gill's spiel at numerous presentations I'm not sure it's the proposed legislation that is "rife with inaccuracies and false assumptions." After all, he continues to insist that hydrofracking - a process that is fairly new - has been "done safely in NY for more than 50 years."

Read news article here.


  1. Thank you, Ms. Heavenrich, for clarifying what happened in Albany yesterday. The Thompson bill is wimpy and arbitrary, but it does at least seem to acknowledge that the state has been inadequately informed and prepared in its haste to drill.

    One would think that watching the tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico would give people pause. But dollar signs flashing in eyes tend to blind people to risks, even to their food and water supply and their very children's health. Incomprehensible to those of us who care about others and the planet, but abundantly clear in the actions of so many, on the local, state, national, and international fronts.

    Now if only the DEC were responsible and trustworthy.

  2. Now is the time to not let up NY! In the press, in your communities, with your friends and neighbors, it's time to step up and defend our homeland.

  3. Despite Mr. Gill's statement about the legislative initiatives being rife with "inaccuracies and false assumptions," they're quite straightforward and follow basic tenets of the Precautionary Principle: 1. do no harm; and 2. an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Both those tenets are the underpinning of basic Conservative and Conservationist philosophies. (A full explanation of Assembly counterparts and others is at: http://lizjbucar.wordpress.com/?s=gunther

  4. To clarify: the "slick water" of hydraulic fracturing is new. Hydraulic fracturing is decades old in both the fossil fuel and water well drilling businesses.

    A list of the chemicals used (and their purposes) in slick water fracking can be found in the NYS draft SGEIS and is also online at the PA DEP site. Is this list complete? Probably not, because as Cornell professor and fracking expert Tony Ingraffea has pointed out, the gas companies will change the cocktail as soon as they have to reveal it publicly.

  5. Who started the moratorium thing? WNy not a ban? this seems very industry friendly and no one can explain how and why the moratorium position got put forward by some, instead of the widely popular ban position? Ideas?