Helping to protect landowners right for the extraction of Natural Gas.

Helping to protect landowners' rights for the extraction of Natural Gas.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Enviromental Protection and Regulation are Key to New Yorks Economic Future

Upstate natural gas resources can help meet nation’s needs for domestic energy.

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York (IOGA of NY) called on the Cuomo administration to continue its thorough and timely review of issues associated with natural gas development, referencing President Obama’s call to seek opportunities to develop domestic reserves of natural gas as a means of stemming U.S. dependence on foreign fuels.

IOGA of NY, which represents nearly 400 individuals and companies who employ 5,000 people in the state, asked the governor to implore the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to complete its revised Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) on or before June 1. The state must recognize the false claims of opponents for what they are and not allow the continued obstruction of an economic development opportunity that will result in positive job growth and increased domestic energy production.

“No one is in favor of pollution, and no one is in favor of inadequate regulation,” said Brad Gill, executive director of IOGA of NY. “Anyone who looks at the industry’s record of environmental safety in New York can draw only one conclusion: that our adherence to a strict regulatory structure is stellar, and it has benefited New York’s natural resources. Our expectation is that our operators would continue this tradition as they pursue opportunities to tap natural gas reserves in New York’s Southern Tier.”

The overarching goals of opponents and proponents of natural gas development are the same: a regulatory environment where drilling for natural gas can be done safely and environmental protections are maximized.

In a recent letter, opposition groups asked the governor to “clearly confirm that the (DEC) will be allowed both adequate time and resources” to evaluate the potential risks. The letter concludes, “Surely it is worth taking as much time as is necessary to reassess and redesign this (environmental) program before taking steps that could place the state’s priceless and irreplaceable resources in jeopardy.”

“We agree,” Gill added. “But our technologies are not new. DEC has scrutinized horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing for at least 15 years, and its scientists and policy staff have been hard at work further evaluating these specific techniques for almost three years. We believe that’s a reasonable amount of time to properly establish drilling permit requirements that ensure maximum environmental protections.”

In an energy policy speech delivered Wednesday in Washington, President Obama said that natural gas must play a larger role in America’s energy future.

“In terms of new sources of energy, we have a few different options,” President Obama said. “The first is natural gas … recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves – perhaps a century’s worth – in the shale under our feet.”

Gill agreed. “There is tremendous potential for New York to be a key player in the nation’s natural gas future,” he said.

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