Monday, April 8, 2013

Hydrofracking Updates

Yes, a Drilling Moratorium.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 by: Times Union Editorial Board. 

Our opinion: The Legislature should pass a moratorium on fracking while multiple studies are under way.

Whether you feel that natural gas fracking is the economic salvation of New York or an environmental disaster waiting to happen, there is one indisputable fact about it: The science is not in. Not by a long shot. And that’s why a moratorium in New York makes sense.

State leaders who have vowed to let science guide their decision on whether to allow high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing could show they mean what they say by declaring that the idea is off the table at least until some serious study is done.

While the industry’s persistent public relations campaign has portrayed fracking as clean and safe, we simply don’t know if that’s true. At least five studies are under way or being considered on fracking as scientists and health researchers seek answers.


Note: The New York Assembly has already voted to ban fracking for two more years.
The moratorium would last until May 15, 2015. In the meantime, the Assembly bill calls for the State University of New York to conduct an independent, comprehensive health review (A5424A-2013).

A similar bill to ban fracking for two more years was introduced by the Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate (S4236A-2013).
However, the GOP is against the moratorium and they prefer to wait instead for Governor Cuomo’s health commissioner to complete an ongoing review. Read more here.
UPDATE 4.9.2013 --  Letter: Governor Cuomo, insist on a drilling moratorium
To the editor of the Times Union -- Published Friday, April 5, 2013

On behalf of a bipartisan group of more than 635 local elected officials from all 62 counties across New York, we agree with the Times Union's editorial in support of a moratorium on fracking. Wisely, the Times Union cited a growing majority of New Yorkers who question the safety of fracking: "Safe? Prove it. We can wait."

We can — and must — hold off. Elected Officials to Protect New York, whose signatories represent more than 13.5 million New Yorkers, has long been calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to maintain the moratorium on fracking. An informed decision cannot be made until analyses have evaluated the health, economic and cumulative environmental impacts on local communities.

The facts and science are not in. New concerns arise weekly.  Read more here.

TAKE ACTION: Call Governor Cuomo at  518-474-8390 and let him know your opinion about hydrofracking in NY State.

3rd NY Town Wins in Court over Fracking Ban

By The Associated Press on March 19, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A third upstate New York town has won a court challenge to its ban on natural gas drilling as two previous cases are about to be argued before a state appeals court.

Gas drilling company Lenape Resources, based in western New York, had sued the Livingston County town of Avon and the state Department of Environmental Conservation over the town's moratorium on drilling, saying the action threatened to put it out of business after it had operated in the town for decades. Lenape's owner, John Holko, also sought $50 million in damages. He named the Department of Environmental Conservation because he said the agency had a duty to stop towns from enacting local bans.

On March 15, Acting Supreme Court Justice Robert Wiggins in Livingston County ruled against Lenape on all counts. He cited Court of Appeals precedents as well as decisions in favor of local bans in the Upstate towns of Dryden and Middlefield.

Read more at The Post-Standard's

Note: The basis for NY Supreme Court rulings upholding the gas-drilling bans in the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield was covered in my earlier post here (February 27, 2012) .

Sierra Club Blasts 'Sustainable Shale' Center's Partnership Between Industry And Environmental Groups

AP  |  By KEVIN BEGOS Posted: 03/21/2013

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Sierra Club and some other environmental groups are harshly criticizing a new partnership that aims to create tough new standards for fracking.

The criticism Thursday came a day after two of the nation's biggest oil and gas companies made peace with some national and regional environmental groups, agreeing to go through an independent review of their shale oil and gas drilling operations in the Northeast.

If Shell Oil, Chevron Appalachia and other companies are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry.

But some are questioning whether a partnership between environmentalists and the oil and gas industry should exist at all.

Read more at the Huffington Post

NOTE 1: "Sustainable shale" is an oxymoron, like "clean coal."  How about "sustainable wind" or "sustainable sunlight"... that works!
NOTE 2: Even Pro-frackers don't like this industry-enviro "partnership." See

Collapse of Salt Mine serves as Cautionary Tale on Fracking

By Margaret Wooster
Special to The Buffalo News - 03/17/2013

This cautionary tale is relevant to one of the most important decisions confronting New York State in our time: whether to permit the construction of tens of thousands of new high-volume hydrofracking gas wells across the southern half of our state.


EPA Announces Expert Panel to Review Fracking Study

WASHINGTON | Mon Mar 25, 2013

(Reuters) - The U.S. environmental regulator has selected experts in fields ranging from well-drilling to toxicology to review a highly anticipated report on the natural gas and oil extraction method commonly known as fracking.

The Environmental Protection Agency's science advisory board on Monday named 31 experts from universities, scientific labs and companies to review the agency's landmark hydraulic fracturing study that is expected to be delivered in 2014.

The study, first requested by Congress in 2010, may prove pivotal in the government's regulation of fracking that has unlocked generations' worth of oil and gas supplies.

Read more here.

Click here to view a list of Members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel

To view the Executive Summary of the Progress Report on the EPA hydraulic fracturing study (December 2012), click here.

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