Governor Issues Executive Order on Moratorium

 

http://www.state.ny.us/governor/executive_orders/exeorders/EO41.html
Here is the text:
EXECUTIVE ORDER
No. 41: REQUIRING FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW
WHEREAS, the 2009 New York State Energy Plan supports the development of in-State energy resources, including natural gas, to achieve the Plan’s multiple public policy objectives; and
WHEREAS, low-volume hydraulic fracturing, or conventional fracking, has been used successfully and safely in New York State for many years to extract natural gas consistent with the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program promulgated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) in 1992; and

WHEREAS, new technologies have emerged, and are being deployed in other states, to extract natural gas more efficiently through a process known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling; and

WHEREAS, there is a need for further study of this new technology prior to deployment in New York State; and

WHEREAS, in 2008, I directed the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to initiate a formal public process to update the 1992 GEIS to ensure that any new technologies deployed in New York State are first thoroughly analyzed and regulated to ensure that all environmental and public health impacts are mitigated or avoided; and

WHEREAS, the Department issued a draft scope for an updated GEIS on October 6, 2008, held public meetings in the Marcellus shale region, received more than 3,000 written comments, and issued a final scope for the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) on February 6, 2009.  The Department released the Draft SGEIS for public review and comment on September 30, 2009, held four public hearings in the region and New York City, and received more than 13,000 written comments during a public comment period that closed December 31, 2009; and

WHEREAS, tens of thousands of citizens, landowners, local governments, large and small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders have expressed their heartfelt support for or opposition to the new technology, but most agree that an objective, science-based analysis is the best approach to setting new policy.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, David A. Paterson, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:

   1. The Department shall complete its review of the public comments, make such revisions to the Draft SGEIS that are necessary to analyze comprehensively the environmental impacts associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling, ensure that such impacts are appropriately avoided or mitigated consistent with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), other provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and other laws, and ensures that adequate regulatory measures are identified to protect public health and the environment; and
   2. On or about June 1, 2011, the Department shall publish a Revised Draft SGEIS, accept pubic comment on the revisions for a period of not less than thirty days, and may schedule public hearings on such revisions to be conducted in the Marcellus shale region and New York City; and
   3. Recognizing that, pursuant to SEQRA, no permits may be issued prior to the completion of a Final SGEIS, the Department, subsequent to the conclusion of the public comment period, shall report to the Governor on the status of the Final SGEIS and the regulatory conditions that are necessary to include in oil and gas well permits to protect public health and the environment.    

G I V E N   under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this thirteenth day of December in the year two thousand ten.
BY THE GOVERNOR 
     
Secretary to the Governor

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HISTORIC VICTORY FOR THE CITIZENS OF NEW YORK STATE
In an amazing victory for the citizens of New York State, Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest.  New York State becomes the first state to have a formal prohibition on high volume horizontal hydrofacking because of concerns about environmental impacts.  Regretablly instead of signing the “Moratorium Bill” legislation sent to him that included a prohibition on vertical hyrdofracking that was passed by on overwhelming bi partisan majority in both houses of the State government he decided instead to succumb to industry pressure and issue the Executive Order that eliminates vertical wells from the prohibition. While the Executive Order is historic and proves that our concerns over hydrofracking are legitimate it is also a disappointment because vertical wells are also dangerous.

The gas and oil industry lobby deliberately misinterpreted a section of the Moratorium Bill claiming it would bring all gas drilling in New York State to a halt.  The bill only specified a moratorium on drilling for wells using hydrofracking, whether they are vertically or horizontally drilled.
A moratorium banning the fracking of vertical wells is very important for several reasons:
1.    Gas companies have been clear that they plan to drill vertical wells in the Utica and Marcellus shale with the intention of converting them to horizontal wells.
2.    While the State Senate was considering a two-year moratorium on horizontal wells the gas industry threatened to drill and frack 16 vertical wells every square mile in retribution if a moratorium on fracked horizontal wells was passed.
3.    Some of the worst water contamination problems, such as in Dimock, PA came from vertical wells drilled and fractured in the Marcellus Shale.
We now look to Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo to protect the Citizens of New York from the dangers of hydro fracking by any method including vertical drilling and horizontal drilling and including all shale formations.

BELOW IS THE GOVERNORS PRESS RELEASE

 

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Governor Paterson Issues Executive Order on Hydraulic Fracturing

ALBANY, NY (12/11/2010)(readMedia)– Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. This should allay any fears that high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling under study by DEC will commence without assurances of safety. “We in government must always focus on protecting the well-being of those whom we represent and serve, but we also have an obligation to look to the future and protect the long-term interests for our State and its residents,” Governor Paterson said. “Therefore, I am proud to issue this Executive Order, which will guarantee that before any high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is permitted, the Department of Environmental Conversation will complete its studies and certify that such operations are safe.” Permits for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing can not be issued until the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completes a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), which is currently being developed. As a result, there is already in place a de-facto moratorium on such permits. The Governor issued the Executive Order contemporaneously with his veto of S.8129-B/A.11443-B, which would have suspended the issuance of new oil and gas drilling permits through May 15, 2011, including all conventional, low-volume, vertical oil and gas wells. “This legislation, which was well intentioned, would have a serious impact on our State if signed into law. Enacting this legislation would put people out of work – work that is permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and causes no demonstrated environmental harm, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic,” Governor Paterson said. “Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act.” “I am sympathetic to the sponsors’ desire to protect the environment and public health, and I respect the concerns that produced this legislation,” the Governor continued. “But this legislation does not accomplish this purpose, since the activities at the heart of the moratorium are not currently taking place, and would not take place until well after the legislation’s proposed moratorium.” The bill goes well beyond high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing and effectively would result in a moratorium on all new oil and gas well drilling in this State. The cessation of such new activity, even for a limited period, would have substantial negative financial consequences for the State, local governments, landowners and small businesses involved in conventional oil and gas production. The Division of the Budget estimates that the bill would cause a substantial reduction in State revenues from the loss of permit fees and tax revenue. With a $315 million budget gap in the current fiscal year, and a projected gap of over $9 billion in the 2011-12 State fiscal year, New York simply cannot afford to send hundreds and perhaps thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in capital investment to Pennsylvania and other states to our south. ### Additional news available at www.ny.gov/governor | High resolution images available at www.ny.gov/governor/mediaimages | password: paterson | New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@chamber.state.ny.us | 212.681.4640 | 518.474.8418 | Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

From: “governors.press.office@chamber.state.ny.us” <governors.press.office@chamber.state.ny.us>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2010 15:51:28 -0500
To: Katherine Nadeau<knadeau@eany.org>
Subject: Governor Paterson Issues Executive Order on Hydraulic Fracturing
News from New York State Office of the Governor
For more information contact: Jessica Bassett, 518-474-8418/212-681-4640
Governor Paterson Issues Executive Order on Hydraulic Fracturing
ALBANY, NY (12/11/2010)(readMedia)– Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. This should allay any fears that high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling under study by DEC will commence without assurances of safety.
“We in government must always focus on protecting the well-being of those whom we represent and serve, but we also have an obligation to look to the future and protect the long-term interests for our State and its residents,” Governor Paterson said. “Therefore, I am proud to issue this Executive Order, which will guarantee that before any high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is permitted, the Department of Environmental Conversation will complete its studies and certify that such operations are safe.”
Permits for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing can not be issued until the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completes a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), which is currently being developed. As a result, there is already in place a de-facto moratorium on such permits.
The Governor issued the Executive Order contemporaneously with his veto of S.8129-B/A.11443-B, which would have suspended the issuance of new oil and gas drilling permits through May 15, 2011, including all conventional, low-volume, vertical oil and gas wells.
“This legislation, which was well intentioned, would have a serious impact on our State if signed into law. Enacting this legislation would put people out of work – work that is permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and causes no demonstrated environmental harm, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic,” Governor Paterson said. “Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act.”
“I am sympathetic to the sponsors’ desire to protect the environment and public health, and I respect the concerns that produced this legislation,” the Governor continued. “But this legislation does not accomplish this purpose, since the activities at the heart of the moratorium are not currently taking place, and would not take place until well after the legislation’s proposed moratorium.”
The bill goes well beyond high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing and effectively would result in a moratorium on all new oil and gas well drilling in this State. The cessation of such new activity, even for a limited period, would have substantial negative financial consequences for the State, local governments, landowners and small businesses involved in conventional oil and gas production.
The Division of the Budget estimates that the bill would cause a substantial reduction in State revenues from the loss of permit fees and tax revenue. With a $315 million budget gap in the current fiscal year, and a projected gap of over $9 billion in the 2011-12 State fiscal year, New York simply cannot afford to send hundreds and perhaps thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in capital investment to Pennsylvania and other states to our south.
###
Additional news available at www.ny.gov/governor | High resolution images available at www.ny.gov/governor/mediaimages | password: paterson | New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@chamber.state.ny.us | 212.681.4640 | 518.474.8418 | Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
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