Marcellus Shale: Another attempt at a moratorium
Written by Jennifer K. Levine on May 18, 2011 – 5:02 am
Yesterday the NYS Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation voted out of committee A. 7400, a bill that would place a moratorium on the issuance of drilling permits using hydraulic fracturing. If it seems like we’ve been here before, we have. The bill is identical to legislation passed by the legislature in 2010 that was rightly vetoed by Governor Paterson.
A moratorium on permitting is currently in place until June 2011 which was enacted under Executive Order by Paterson to allow the DEC sufficient time to complete its comprehensive review and promulgation of additional drilling rules governing hydraulic fracturing. This review is expected to be completed this summer. Further delay is unnecessary and will be devastating to the landowners and businesses in Central New York and the Southern Tier who look to Marcellus development as an essential way to revitalize their communities.
These attempts to shut down natural gas development are becoming old and tired. Opponents of fracing continue to trot out studies by so-called experts with sexy headlines falsely linking fracing to water contamination, only to read to the end of the article to discover that a) the authors might be scientists (a biologist from Duke) but have no expertise in the field of petroleum engineering and geology; and/or b) they admit that their data is incomplete and flawed. But the headline says it all and the public (and many legislators) has been swayed by the bias against fracing in the media. The DEC is staffed with experts in the field who truly understand the drilling process. They have been working for nearly three years on these rules which will be the strongest and most comprehensive on the planet.
If New York leaders decide to pass on this enormous opportunity to develop its home grown natural gas, Upstate New York will remain mired in economic depression for decades. Neighboring Marcellus states are already taking the lead in infrastructure and pipeline construction (facilities that could have been built here) and the resulting job creation is staggering. Communities across the border in Pennsylvania are currently reporting unemployment figures around 5% while our Southern Tier reports double digit unemployment. Safe and responsible Marcellus development is New York’s path to prosperity and further delay is unacceptable