This is the “Bottom Line on Hydraulic Fracturing”. On his last days in office Governor David Patterson signed Executive Order No. 41 which virtually stopped any drilling or issuing of new permits for drilling for natural gas within the State of New York.. He essentially dropped the entire mention of “Hydrofracking” onto the lap of new Governor Andrew Cuomo.
I am going to say right up front, that if hydrofracking, which has been in use in New York State since the 1980’s, is done in accordance with the regulations currently in place, I have absolutely no problem with it.
The problem is, a lot of people who are being fueled by the opinion of a writer who has no idea what he’s talking about, are forming negative opinions of the process.
Approximately 40% of New York State sits atop of an incredibly rich natural gas deposit within the Marcellus shale formation. Twenty-five of New York’s sixty-two counties are either mostly or totally within the limits. The limits include about half of Albany County. On the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) map the limit line appears to just skirt the City of Albany’s western boundary.
You can rest easy City of Albany, Frank Commisso and the Albany
Common Council made sure you won’t see a drill rig in downtown Albany.
No doubt fracking is an involved process that utilizes an incredible amount of water. DEC estimates each well uses in excess of 1 million gallons. Drillers put that number at more than 3 million. Along with the water goes a mixture of sand and chemicals which are pumped into the well under extreme pressure to fracture the shale. It’s the mixture of chemicals that drillers say you can find as household items that have not been clearly defined. One chemical allegedly used is Benzene. Benzene is pretty nasty stuff. It’s also used as an additive in gasoline. Drilling contractors need to come clean on what they actually use in the process. While the wells are drilled through the groundwater aquifer, the DEC has strict regulations concerning the process of drilling through an aquifer.
The DEC only has control of the process of drilling. They have absolutely no say in the locations of the drilling. The governor decided to let the localities decide whether to allow or not to allow drilling within its confines. That measure has been upheld in a lawsuit brought by a drilling company against a town by the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The contractor who had the drilling rights argued that he was “grandfathered” by prior law. And he was. He is not alone. The landowners sell the rights to a contractor in expectation of a payday. The contractor buys the rights in expectation of acquiring a permit to drill under previous statutes in place. It has turned a win-win situation into a lose-lose one.
The new drilling regulations have been rewritten, submitted for public comment and now wait upon the approval of the DEC. If the state continues to let the localities decide on where they can drill, no drilling will take place. The areas of the state, mostly in the Southern Tier, need the industry. We need the energy. Supposedly there are 3/4 of a trillion cubic feet of natural gas concentrated within the confines of the Marcellus shale formation. In the state, we use approximately 1 million cubic feet per day. You do the math. Natural gas is the cleanest energy we have. We are decades away from solar and wind power to be effective, if ever. In the sun rich state of Arizona, their use of alternative energy is only 7% of the total demand. I’m sure in New York it’s far less.
Legislators; it’s time for you to get off your collective asses and get this legislation done. Everything comes with a downside. You can be sure with all the time expended on these new regulations, the DEC will make sure all the T’s are crossed.
And that is “The Daily Take”