Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gov. Patterson Extends Fracking Moratorium

NY Gov. Patterson did not approve the legislature's moratorium bill on gas drilling by hydraulic fracturing, also called hydrofracking or fracking.

The governor went one better: he extended the moratorium by executive order on Saturday.

He also restricted the type of fracking that would be included in the moratorium.

Gov. Patterson restricted the moratorium to a controversial method of hydrofracking that uses high volumes of water and employs horizontal drilling from a deep well. Landowners in nearby Pennsylvania and in other states claim this method is responsible for contaminating their well water, polluting the air and land, and causing illnesses.

Excused from the governor's moratorium is more conventional vertical drilling, as explained in a statement from Peter Kiernan, Counsel to the Governor:
The Governor vetoed legislation that would have placed a moratorium on high-volume, horizontal hydraulic drilling and more conventional vertical drilling. The Governor's order obviates the need for a moratorium on high-volume fracking. However, vertical drilling has been a fact in this State for 40 years without demonstrable environmental damage. Permitting for such drilling will continue unless the DEC's comprehensive review requires it to be stopped.
The executive order bans high-volume, horizontal, hydrofracking until at least July 1, 2011, while the NY Department of Environmental Conservation continues its ongoing review of its effects in the Marcellus Shale region.

This is a huge victory for NY residents concerned about the quality of their drinking water, air, land and public health. [However, see UPDATE, below].

In addition, the moratorium may have national consequences. New York is the first state in the nation to confront the powerful gas industry with a moratorium on their drilling methods, which have been the subject of controversy in many states.

Read a report about the executive order here, and a CNN report that preceded the Governor's order here.

UPDATE, 12/13/2010:
"Expert testimony submitted for a government hearing next month challenges long-held assumptions about the safety of deep vertical drilling and exploratory wells, which operate in many states with limited regulatory oversight," according to a report by ProPublica. The administrative hearing will be held by the Delaware River Basin Commission, a federal agency that regulates a variety of water and land activities in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.

Environmental groups opposed to fracking are unhappy that the
Executive Order does not impose a moratorium on vertical drilling.

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy stated:
Unlike the bill he vetoed, the Governor's Executive Order will allow the ongoing drilling and fracking of vertical wells. Although vertical wells utilize only a fraction of the toxic fluid used in high-volume horizontal wells, they are responsible for numerous pollution incidents, including the contamination of nine square miles of aquifer in Dimock, Pennsylvania where some residents have been living with poisoned water wells for the past two years.
Frack Action shared a public event on FaceBook. Today at the Governor's NYC office, Mark Ruffalo, NY State Senator Liz Krueger, and Craig and Julie Sautner of Dimock, PA will be there to tell the Governor to close the "Paterson Loophole" for vertical wells NOW.

A Press Conference will be held on Monday, December 13, at 12 noon, at the NYC Office of Gov Paterson, 644 3rd Ave. (bet. 41st & 42nd).

TALK: Accelerating Solar Energy in NY

[Click image to enlarge]

To read more information about the speaker and the presentation, click here.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Friend in Need

Bill Nowak is well known in the local community for his outstanding character and good works. Among his many talents, he has been a leader in informing and motivating people around environmental issues dealing with renewable energy and the green economy. He was named "Environmental Citizen of the Year" in 2009 in appreciation for his dedication to environmental quality.

Bill Nowak is looking for work, since his job ended yesterday when Senator Thompson conceded the 60th Senate District election.

Bill's strengths include his work ethic, ability to communicate both verbally and in writing, leadership qualities, a good knowledge of local environmental problems and opportunities, strong contacts throughout our community and good computer skills.

A copy of Bill Nowak's résumé is posted here.

If you have any leads or ideas for Bill, please send them to him by e-mail at

Here is a link to the
"Environmental Citizen of the Year" award.

NYS Assembly enacts Ban on Fracking

The New York State Assembly enacted a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing which will remain in effect until May 15, 2011.

The bill, A11443B/S08129B, was approved by the Senate last summer and is now on its way to Governor Paterson, who is expected to sign it into law.

Please phone Governor Patterson's office today at
518-474-8390. Let his office know that you want the Governor to sign the moratorium bill.

The people have spoken through the Senate and the Assembly, but they also need to speak to the Governor's office to help ensure that the bill becomes a law.

See other Re-ENERGIZE BUFFALO posts on 'Fracking', Click Here.