PHMSA: Stakeholder Communications

PHMSA: Stakeholder Communications.  (Use this link to access info.)

Advocacy Groups

Municipal Law and Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking

Municipal Law and Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking

Held on September 28, 2012, this program provided guidance on how municipal officials can use their local land use tools to effectively plan for the potential introduction of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in their communities. Panels discussed state regulation of HVHF, water withdrawal concerns, preemption and home rule litigation, effective land use controls, municipal ethics, and opportunities for training. The panels included practicing attorneys, planners, academics and scholars.


Explanations below.

Municipal Law & Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking – Panel 1

from Government Law Center2 days ago

Current Status of HVHF and Water Withdrawal Issues
Moderator: Michael Bogin, Esq., Sive, Paget & Riesel
Panelists: Mark Boling, Esq., V+ Development Solutions, Southwestern Energy
Daniel Raichel, Esq., Project Attorney, NRDC
Brian G. Rahm, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Associate, NYS Water Resources Institute

Municipal Law and Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking – Panels Two and Three

from Government Law Center2 days ago

Panel Two: Responding to HVHF: Municipal Ethics
Moderator: Mike Kenneally, Esq., Association of Towns
Panelists: Richard Rifkin, Esq., New York State Bar Association
Stephen Leventhal, Esq., Leventhal, Cursio, Mullaney & Sliney LLP

Panel Three: SEQRA and HVHF
Moderator: Charles Gottlieb, Esq., Government Law Center of Albany Law School
Panelist: Chris Amato, Esq., Sive, Paget & Riesel

Municipal Law and Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking – Panel Four

from Government Law Center2 days ago

Responding to HVHF: Legal Considerations
Moderator: Tom Wilber, Author, “Under the Surface, Fracking Fortunes and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale”
Panelists: Tom West, Esq., The West Firm
Steven Barshov, Esq., Sive, Paget & Riesel
Helen Slottje, Esq., Community Environmental Defense Council, Inc.

Municipal Law & Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking – Panels Five and Six

from Government Law Center2 days ago

Panel Five: Responding to HVHF: Effective Local Planning Tools
Moderator: Chip Northrup
Panelists: Krys Cail, Consultant, Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship
Nan Stolzenburg, AICP, Community Planning & Environmental Associates
Ted Fink, AICP, Green Plan, Inc.

Panel Six: Responding to HVHF: Municipal Training
Panelists: Rod Howe, Cornell Cooperative Extension; Community and Regional Development Institute
David Kay, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Community and Regional Development Institute
Robert Ross, Ph.D, Paleontological Research Institute

40 bans, 104 moratoria, 86 movements for prohibitions

By my current tally, we’re up to 40 bans, 104 moratoria, 86 movements for prohibitions! Keep the good news coming in, and I’ll get your additions into the next edition of our map.
Here’s the permanent map link:
All the best,

Karen Edelstein
NYS Coordinator
FracTracker Alliance

Elected Officials to Protect New York

Elected Officials to Protect New York.

Do a search to find the 18 Cortland County officials who have signed on and then contact those who have not to do so.

Developing Road Preservation Local Law and Road Use Agreements: A Half-Day Forum

Tompkins County Council of Governments

Developing Road Preservation Local Law and Road Use Agreements: A Half-Day Forum

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Location: New York State Grange
100 Grange Place, Cortland, NY 13045

Does the prospect of more truck traffic than your municipal roads are accustomed have you worried?
How can you protect the highway infrastructure and the taxpayers?

Event expenses of $250 to be shared by participants – if 50 register then $5 each

7:15 am Doors Open
7:45 am Welcoming Remarks
8:00 am Road Structure and Allocating Damage Costs Equitably
Lynne Irwin, Director. Cornell Local Roads Program
9:15 am Options for Managing Truck Traffic
Michael Kenneally, Esq. Associate Counsel. Association of Towns of the State of New York
10:00 am Break
10:15 am Strategies for Negotiating Road Use Agreements
Mark Sweeny, Esq. Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, LLP
11:15 am Moderated Panel “Questions and Discussion”
12:00 pm End of Program
For Registration Contact: Michelle Pottorff at
Come prepared with any specific questions or concerns
you would like our panelists to address! Questions may be emailed in advance to


Councilman: Dimock ‘Thugs’ ‘Pirating’ Montrose Water | WBNG-TV: News, Sports and Weather Binghamton, New York | Top Video

Councilman: Dimock ‘Thugs’ ‘Pirating’ Montrose Water | WBNG-TV: News, Sports and Weather Binghamton, New York | Top Video.

Gas Drilling Considerations for Municipalities

Considerations on Gas Drilling in the Town of Union


1.       Now is the time to make an informed decision on gas hydrofracking within the Town’s borders.

If the town waits too long and the DEC begins to issue drilling permits, it may be too late to limit unlimited drilling, because once drilling starts on one property within the town it may be considered arbitrary or prejudicial to ban it on other parcels. By being undecided or waiting too long about the advisability of a fracking ban may forever eliminate the Town’s discretion.

2.        Hydrofracking should not be permitted adjacent to or within high density populations

The population density of Susquehanna and Bradford Counties in Pennsylvania is 51 and 54 people per square mile, and we have witnessed the impact that drilling has had in these areas. The population density of the Town of Union is 1600 people per square mile, over 30 times as dense. Impacts if they occur due to improper installations, violations, or accidents will be amplified by 30 times in the Town of Union!

3.       Because the Board does not know where drilling might occur within the Town, there is no way to adequately assess the impact to local roads, traffic patterns, congestion, potential pollutions or any other factor.

The Town will forever be in reactive mode if drilling is permitted.

4.        Hydrofracking is a very new process and not yet proven safe.

Regardless of the best intentions of the DEC and State regulatory agencies, hydrofracking has been shown to be prone to accidents, violations of regulations, and improper installation of casings. Over 2000 violations by the gas drilling industry were recorded in PA from 2008-2010. The vast majority were beyond simple administrative issues. Improper casings and failed casings (un-welded pipe, poor cementing in cold weather and vibrations/cracking from fracking explosions) have been blamed for pollution of ground water supplies in Dimock. The most recent case occurred as recently as December 2011. Issues are not limited to the few households frequently cited in the news. This is a continuing problem.  Casings can be improperly installed, the cementing process can be faulty, casings can fail over time as they age, casings can fail due to the high pressures involved, and they can fail when the explosive charges are detonated to open fissures in the deep well.



5.       Methane gas could intrude into homes .

The same improper casing installation or casing damage that allows gas to enter the water supply can induce methane into homes as is the case in a recent incident in Dimock PA.

6.       The town’s water supply could be polluted with limited or no alternative source available.

While the drilling companies would have us believe that pollution of water supplies is impossible due to the casings installed below the water table, pollution has occurred in Pennsylvania due to failed or improperly installed casing that allows gas and other pollutants to enter the water supply. Once this occurs there is no going back and few communities like Union may not have any good alternative water supply.

7.       Multiple drilling companies will be involved.

Dozens of drilling concerns might be involved within the Town, each with its own set of policies, approaches, sense of public responsibility, employees, rules, and history of compliance with established regulations. If issues occur the Town will find itself dealing with many entities not just one. 

8.       Heavy truck traffic on town roads and residential streets is dangerous.

Many of us chose to live on quiet residential streets that would be horribly changed with heavy truck traffic (up to 800-900 trucks per well with as many as sixteen wells per pad). Many streets leading to leased land (Western Heights Blvd for example) are currently quiet dead end streets. Many were not built for high volume heavy truck traffic and many are in vulnerable to further damage due to recent floods that scoured the surface and undermined the subsurface.  Accident rates will increase, and snarled traffic in the town will result. Dust air pollution, noxious odors, noise and light pollution will increase in quiet, clean residential and rural areas.

9.       No good solution readily exists for disposal and/or storage of dangerous “produced water”.

There is a lack of facilities for proper treatment of the waste water associated with hydrofracking.  Many communities in New York State have banned use of their water treatment facilities for the “produced water” from fracking wells. Underground storage is not readily available in the State due to geologic incompatibility. The produced water contains residue from drilling, chemicals used in the fracking process, high salinity (5x sea water) and some degree of radioactivity, making it difficult to purify. It is unclear whether NY will allow spreading of waste water on local roads, but some states do, resulting in a slick, slippery coating. Some gas companies have been forced to store produced water at the pad site in holding ponds due to the difficulty in finding disposal solutions. This increases the chance of accidental release of the dangerous substances. 

10.   Fracking fluid is dangerous.

Drilling proponents say that the fracking fluid is 99% water with a very dilute amount of various chemicals. Every well (up to 16 per pad) requires on the order of 7,500 gallons of chemicals. According to experts, 93% of these have adverse health effects, 60% are known carcinogens, and more than 40% are endocrine disruptors. Both people and wildlife are exposed through accidental release or thorough exposure to produced water disposed on local roads, or through contact with holding ponds containing the waste.


11.   Revenue from gas drilling leases is uncertain and short-term.

There is no guarantee that the State might not take portions of the revenue expected and needed by the town to maintain infrastructure, fund emergency equipment, maintain roads, deal with accidents, fight increased crime etc. New York might even establish a state controlled tax and share only part of it with the county (not town). This creates tremendous pressure on the town to perform added responsibilities. The revenue is high only in the short term (a few years) but the town’s responsibilities will last forever.  

12.    Increase of jobs for local residents is uncertain, but undoubtedly short term.

Experience in Susquehanna County in PA indicates that up to 70% of the jobs created are from out of town (not the other way around as some would suggest). These are short term jobs as well.  Evidence points to increased crime rates associated with transient drilling teams. The Town will need to address the need for additional law enforcement.

13.   Economic benefit to the Town is uncertain and may not be sufficient for long term needs.

Economic benefit to the town is uncertain, but based on experience in PA the town should be very skeptical. Revenues may not even equal expenses. Expenses will be long term commitments and revenue will decline rapidly in the first few years.  Income will benefit a select few, the rest of the town’s residents will pay forever. Towns may not benefit at all from leased property that is currently tax free (for example, the Binghamton University Foundation at 423 Western Heights Blvd.) However the Town will be responsible for all repairs, accidents, pollution, associated with drilling on tax free property.

14.   Values of drilled land and property adjacent to drilled land decreases and future mortgages may be impacted.

There is wide evidence of decreased property values associated with drilling. Some properties in PA have declined more than a whopping 80%. Banks may refuse to insure property on drilled land and may refuse mortgages on land adjacent to leased property for fear of falling values or liabilities.  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has issued an advisory to appraisers that homes within 300 ft of a leased property are no longer appropriate collateral for residential mortgages! This may impact thousands of properties in the Town of Union.

15.    Current State drilling regulations date to 1972 and are not sufficient to protect the town from new processes such as those used to obtain gas from Marcellus or Utica shales.

The town has no control of this issue, but will be left to deal with any and all ramifications of lack of good, meaningful and absolutely safe regulations.   The town, not the drilling companies will be left to deal with the ramifications of any accidents, violations, or improper drilling techniques which through experience in PA, are certain to occur. 

16.   The Town of Union needs to immediately commission a baseline of its water supply.

It is nearly impossible to find gas companies liable for anything and expensive litigation is necessary even to begin to obtain any restitution from accidents, violations, or improper drilling techniques. Small State fines are not usually sufficient to pay for repair or remediation.  It is impossible to find the gas companies (and there will be many, not just one) responsible for water supply pollution. The town should establish its own baseline for the common elements and compounds used in drilling in its current water supply. Lab results from gas industry tests will not necessarily be released or available to the town. Tests must be from labs certified by the NY State Department of Health to be admissible in legal proceedings. Attention must be paid to the chain of custody of samples as well. The baseline needs to be updated to be current within 5 years of any new drilling.

17.   The Town will experience many increased long term expenses.

New expenses will include new emergency response equipment, disaster relief, training of emergency response teams, increase in the number of emergency response personnel, road equipment and repair material and equipment, code enforcement, and law enforcement. Many of these expenses are long term in nature, while the drilling revenue may be short term.

18.   The gas industry is exempt from many pure water and environmental protection laws.

Amazingly because of the nation’s thirst for fossil fuels, it has exempted the gas industry from:

  • ·         The Clean Water Act
  • ·         The Clean Air Act
  • ·         The Safe Drinking Water Act
  • ·         The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

The Town will have to pay for any environmental issue arising from drilling and gas production operations, not the gas companies. This extends to the haulers or any waste materials from the drilling and fracking processes.

19.    Gathering pipelines and Compressor Stations will be required within the Town as well.

Once production begins additional pipelines known as Gathering Pipelines are required to collect the production from a series of local wells to deliver it to a Compressor Station where the gas is processed and pressurized for injection into long haul pipelines.  Eminent Domain laws are used to obtain land for these pipelines and compressor stations. They are not part of the permit application. Gathering pipelines crisscrossing our town will create long term safety and road and construction impacts. Compressor stations are extremely noisy and emit noxious fumes.  They operate 24/7. One estimate is 3-5% of gas escapes from pipelines and compressors and fugitive emissions, polluting the Town’s air.  Steuben County’s Woodhill compressor station in not only the greatest source of pollutants in the county, it is approximately 3 times greater polluter than the Corning glass manufacturing plant, and emits nearly 3 times the number of different pollutants as Corning Glass.

20.   There is no evidence that the quality of life improves in communities that have permitted Marcellus shale gas production.

While a few individuals may benefit financially from selling gas rights on their property, these benefits are relatively short term and the vast majority of the town residents will never see any benefit, including any significant long term increase in jobs, except those involved in cleaning up the results of unbridled drilling  

21.    Drilling pads, and production well pads will be unsightly.

We live in a hilly area. Hundreds of 5 acre drilling pads and resulting vegetation-less fields on our local hills will be visible for miles around the area. Take a look at the pads in Susquehanna and Bradford counties on Goggle Earth just to see how objectionable these are. Hopefully the Town of Vestal will ban drilling, because we in the Town of Union will have to gaze upon these pads for the rest of our lives, decreasing the desirability of residing in the town or general area, and decreasing home prices and values. Wells have been drilled near suburban homes, churches, schools, parks and even in city centers.

22.   Local residents may be priced out of the rental market.

Experience in Bradford County indicates that rental rates increase rapidly (as much as 4X) with the influx of temporary drilling employees who are willing and able to pay much more than the current fair value for suitable housing, leaving local residents without housing.

23.    The State is advocating “300 demonstration sites”.

Once a community crosses this bridge there is no going back. The damage will be done and nothing will stop further drilling. NY doesn’t need a 300 well demonstration project. Certainly the Town of Union doesn’t. We have a much larger demonstration project a few miles across the state border, and it hasn’t gone well. What more evidence do we need to ban it in Union? Who is to say that a NY demonstration project won’t be conducted in a “model” manner by gas companies who desire approval, who return to their usual, less compliant practices as demonstrated in Susquehanna and Bradford Counties.   

24.   Drilling causes increased noise, dust, and light pollution

Objectionable noise is created by the drilling process and truck traffic. Dust is generated from the dirt roads leading into the drilling site and from the barren pad itself. Drilling is 24/7 and intense lights are used for nighttime operations. These will impact neighborhoods surrounding the drilling site for years, decreasing house values and affecting the quality of life.

25.    Drilling has been prohibited in The New York City and Syracuse areas, but encouraged here in the Southern Tier.   

The reason for banning drilling in these areas is related to the cost of installing water filtration should silt or other pollutants enter the water supply for these areas. Apparently this is too expensive for these areas to afford, but evidently the assumption is the Town of Union can afford to handle any pollution its water supply.

26.   Current setbacks or buffers are inadequate.  

Setbacks of 500 to 1000 feet from residences, streams, wells, or waterways seems to be inadequate in high density population areas like the Town of Union, where with 1600 people per square mile, is over 30X that of Susquehanna and Bradford Counties. We can’t change the setback regulations, but we can ban drilling altogether to protect our high density area from experiencing 30X the issues we are witnessing in Pennsylvania.

27.   Millions and millions of gallons of water will be required .  

Millions of gallons of water are used in the hydrofracturing process. No one can be sure where this water is going to come from or what the impact will be from its removal.

28.   More information is available, check out these websites.

o   This is a repository for dozens of video, audio, and photographic recordings of relevant speeches, forums, and rallies.


How Gas Extraction Affects Home Values, Agriculture, Town Budgets

Citations: How Gas Extraction Affects Home Values, Agriculture, Town Budgets.

Marcellus Shale activity costs mounting – | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Information – The Express

Marcellus Shale activity costs mounting – | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Information – The Express.

Fracking expenses weighed | The Ithaca Journal |

Fracking expenses weighed | The Ithaca Journal |