Alfred passes moratorium on hydrofracking in town – Hornell, NY – Hornell Evening Tribune

Alfred passes moratorium on hydrofracking in town – Hornell, NY – Hornell Evening Tribune.

LWVNYS Calls for Senate Action on Protective Legislation on Hydrofracking

 

Sunday June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day

Dear Members of the League of Women Voters and Friends-For the Benefit of us and our Children, Please read and act on the following:

Nassau County based Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has not brought to the New York Senate floor for a Vote any protective legislation relating to the unconventional-horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Monday, June 20, 2011 is the last day of the Legislative Session. Please place a call Monday to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ office: (518) 455-3171 to confirm you support the following proposed legislation (by Bill Number), which is supported by the New York State League of Women Voters. Tell Senator Skelos’ aide that it is not acceptable for the Senate Leader to refuse to act on any of these bills which State Voters want addressed. Every call makes a difference.

A.7400 Sweeney/S.5592 Carlucci — One Year Moratorium on Hydrofracking:  As we reported last week, the New York State Assembly has already passed a bill that would suspend all permitting for hydraulic fracturing until June 1, 2012. But this bill will go nowhere unless the Senate passes their own version and the governor signs it.

A.7013 Sweeney/S.4616 Avella — Classifying Fracking Waste as Hazardous: Toxic drill cuttings and fluid wastes are coming over the border from Pennsylvanian gas wells into ill-equipped New York landfills and treatment centers, endangering the drinking water of millions. Even though fracking chemicals arrive at the drilling site as regulated hazardous materials, federal and state exemptions allow drillers to treat the same drilling wastes leaving the site as standard industrial waste. This bill will update current regulations so that all resulting waste from natural gas drilling meets the definition of hazardous waste under New York State law.

A.3245 Lifton/S.3472 Oppenheimer — Restoring Local Protections Over Natural Gas Development (Home Rule): This bill will clarify a local government’s right to enact and enforce zoning laws within their jurisdiction to protect them from the negative impacts of oil and gas development. The burden of oil and gas development is an unfunded mandate on upstate communities if they are not allowed to use the most basic land-use planning tools to protect unique local assets.

“The public is increasingly ready to commit to change in its energy use patterns, invest in its children’s energy futures, and is no longer willing to accept the notion that a corporate business plan is the same as a national strategic energy plan.” –Anthony Ingraffea, Professor of Engineering, Cornell University

 

Thank you for taking the time to act in the best interests of the economic and environmental future of our great state.

Elisabeth Radow

Chair Hydraulic Fracturing Committee

For the New York State League of Women Voters

DEC PEF Supports 1 year Moratorium

New York State

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FEDERATION AFL-CIO

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT 1-800-724-4997

100 State Street, Suite 1070 1-518-432-4003

Albany, NY 12207 Fax: 1-518-432-7739

Kenneth Brynien, President; Arlea Igoe, Secretary Treasurer

 

June 1, 2011

 

A7400\Sweeney

 

The New York State Public Employees Federation, representing 56,000

Professional, Scientific, and Technical workers of New York State, supports

this legislation.

 

This bill suspends the issuance of new permits for the drilling of wells

that utilize hydraulic fracturing until June 1, 2012.

The use of hydraulic fracturing to harvest natural gas in the Marcellus and

Utica shale formations should not proceed until the environmental impact

and state’s ability to ensure the safety of its citizens has been fully

determined.

PEF represents employees at the Department of Environmental Conservation

(DEC). It must be noted that DEC has 800 less staff than it did in 2009,

severely inhibiting the agency’s ability to oversee extraction properly,

from the permit process through remediation should a spill occur.

 

The state would be well served by deferring hydraulic fracturing permitting

while the US Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its study and until

the revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement has

been fully reviewed. This time should be used to identify funding to ensure

that DEC is appropriately staffed and can effectively regulate the process.

For these reasons, the Public Employees Federation urges you to support

this legislation.

 

For more information, please contact:

Brian F. Curran, Legislative Director and Counsel

 

Paterson’s Executive Order #41 on 12/14/2010

You can read the Executive Order at: http://www.state.ny.us/governor/executive_orders/exeorders/EO41.html

 

Walter Hang’s Commentary:  Stunning Developments/Cuomo is Our Next Target 

Greetings, I write to bring you up to date on the stunning developments regarding the veto of the mini-moratorium bill and Governor David A. Paterson’s landmark Executive Order 41. When the Governor vetoed the mini-moratorium bill late last Saturday, it was reported that he would issue an Executive Order requiring that “…if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest.”  Mini-moratorium supporters declared: “New York is the first state in the union to legally impose a statewide moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing…”  They also called the Governor’s action an “historic victory for the citizens of New York State.”

In fact, the Executive Order does not impose any moratorium on horizontal hydrofracking.  According to “Executive Order No. 41: Requiring Further Environmental Review,” no horizontal hydrofracking permits can be issued until a Final SGEIS is adopted.  This is exactly the same de facto moratorium that has been in-place in New York for the last two and a half years. 

Nevertheless, the Governor’s order is SUPER IMPORTANT because it requires DEC to issue a “revised” draft SGEIS, accept public comment on the revisions and submit a report to the Governor regarding “the regulatory conditions that are necessary to include in oil and gas well permits to protect public health and the environment.”  The Executive Order specifically requires: “The Department shall complete its review of the public comments, make such revisions to the Draft SGEIS that are necessary to analyze comprehensively (emphasis added) 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;”
DEC cannot possibly fulfill the Executive Order unless it expands the original scope of its SGEIS proceeding.  If you read between the lines of Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz’s quotes in today’s New York Times, that conclusion is perfectly clear:  “Peter M. Iwanowicz, the department’s acting commissioner, said many of the comments have criticized the proposed standards for failing to adequately address issues like the cumulative impact of multiple drill sites, disposal of wastewater from the drilling and the protection of drinking water. He said ‘it behooves’ the next administration to incorporate the range of different issues in the revised draft.”  The specific issues Peter references were excluded from the scope of the original SGEIS.  Wastewater management and drinking water protection are two of the critical issues spelled out in our coalition letter to Governor Paterson.  “The governor’s order said no drilling permits could be issued until completion of the final standards ‘subsequent to the conclusion of the public comment period,’ meaning July 1 at the earliest. Mr. Iwanowicz said drilling could theoretically begin in 2011, ‘but a lot of it depends on how the issues are addressed by this draft.'”
See: http://www.toxicstargeting.com/news/2010-12-14/new-round-comments-drilling        
        or http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/nyregion/14frack.html?ref=nyregion
We must take concerted action to make sure Governor-Elect Cuomo does not rescind the Executive Order.  That is highly unlikely because he would become the focus of intense criticism, to say the least.   We must also require the scope of the revised draft SGEIS to be expanded to include each and every single one of the major concerns identified in our coalition letter as well as by the thousands of other elected officials, environmental groups, business owners and concerned citizens.–Walter Hang

============================

“The Capitol Pressroom program for December 13, 2010: “…The comingling of Governor Paterson’s veto-of-moratorium-slash-executive-order-to-continue-studying-the-gas-drilling-issue has some environmentalists claiming victory, and some others protesting at his offices in New York City with movie stars. We hear from both perspectives, as well as from John Holko of IOGANY (phone). And we talk hydrofracking, partisanship in Albany, pensions & the 2010 elections, as well as his future political career with outgoing Assemblyman Michael Benjamin (studio) who is retiring from the state legislature at the end of the month, but not politics…” ” (The Capitol Pressroom/WCNY) (NY)- http://thecapitolpressroom.org/the-capitol-pressroom-program-for-december-13-2010/ (Download here- http://hotfile.com/dl/89496081/dbef518/TheCapitolPressroom12-13-10.mp3.html )

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

=========================================================================================================================================

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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NYS Passes Suspension of Hydrofracking Bill-Nov.29,2010

Pushback!

What Does the Moratorium Bill Really Say? Marcellus Effect.  Dec. 2, 2010.

 

New York State Assembly Passes a Moratorium Bill!

Paterson Expected to Sign It!
In an historic vote, 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.

The de facto moratorium that has been in effect for the past two years can be attributed to Governor Paterson because he ordered the NYS DEC to prepare a new environmental impact statement to set standards for issuing permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing and the DEC has yet to finalize its work.  By signing this bill, Governor Paterson will cement his reputation as the first Governor in the country to protect his citizens from the precipitous onslaught of dangerous and poorly regulated shale gas extraction.

The vote in the Assembly caps an incredible two weeks for those of us who have been working hard to combat the corporations that intend to turn our communities into sacrificial energy zones.

Pushback!
On November 17th, the Broome County legislature rejected, for the second time, a plan to lease county lands for drilling.   The 10-3 vote was an embarrassing setback for County Executive Barbara Fiala, who has recklessly been pushing fracking since landsmen first showed up in the county.
On the same day, Pittsburgh became the first city in the nation to ban drilling outright.   Residents of that city already have had a taste of fracking – literally.  Beginning in 2008 the city’s drinking water began turning smelly and brown after huge quantities of drilling wastewater were dumped into the Monongahela River, which supplies the city.  
 
The day after Thanksgiving, Governor Paterson acknowledged the role ordinary citizens have played in defeating dangerous drilling saying “This is a very good example of public participation. Our DEC…originally ruled that hydrofracking would not affect the water quality in the area, but we’ve received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea… We’re not going to risk public safety or water quality…  At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time.”

 

Mother Nature lends a hand
On November 18th drilling giant EnCana announced that it was pulling out of Luzerne County, PA because its exploratory wells indicated that “wells were unlikely to produce natural gas in commercial quantities.”   Is this the beginning of the unraveling of the much ballyhooed Marcellus Shale play, as predicted by Arthur Berman?   Only time will tell…

                                                 …for now we’ll just say
HAPPY THANKSGIVING INDEED!