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Down the Legislative Homestretch


I am not supporting any natural gas bills or working on legislative matters, but I pass along the following information to those who might be interested.

The Englebright/Addabbo bill (A10490A/S 7592-A) would impose a moratorium on horizontal hydrofracking until 120 days after EPA's study of that issue is released. It is reportedly dead according to many advocates in Albany.

Senator Thompson has sponsored a less-than-one-year moratorium bill (S 8129B) that is alive. It is a fig leaf that provides political cover for doing almost nothing. See below. Nevertheless, many have pinned their hopes on passing that initiative.

Please note that it fails to require the scope of the current SGEIS regulatory process to be revised. It also does not prevent DEC from adopting an SGEIS that is utterly inadequate.

Most importantly, it probably would not actually delay Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracking. Finishing up the draft SGEIS review, adopting a final SGEIS and working through legal challenges could very well drag on past next May 15th, the end of the proposed moratorium.

Moreover, the graph below illustrates that very few vertical well Marcellus and Utica Shale permits are issued in any given year. Only one Marcellus Shale hydrofracking vertical well permit was granted in 2009. A total of four, five and nine Marcellus vertical well permits were granted in 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively. A total of 16 Marcellus vertical well permits were granted in the previous 25 years. Finally, a total of two Utica Shale well permits were granted in 2007.

If enacted, the Thompson moratorium could be lifted with an SGEIS in-place, drilling permits ready to be issued and a new governor on the second floor.

For all these reasons, I am focused on withdrawing the draft SGEIS. Once the Legislative session ends, I believe the gubernatorial race will be crucially important.

Contact info provided below for those who might wish to weigh in on the matter.



S8129B Text

I N SENATE June 10, 2010
Introduced by Sens. THOMPSON, OPPENHEIMER, PERKINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- reported favorably from said committee and committed to the Committee on Rules -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit tee -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to suspend hydraulic fracturing; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. There is hereby established a suspension of the issuance of new permits for the drilling of a well which utilizes the practice of hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of stimulating natural gas or oil in low permeability natural gas reservoirs, such as the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. The purpose of such suspension shall be to afford the state and its residents the opportunity to continue the review and analysis of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on water and air quality, environmental safety and public health. For the purposes of this section, "hydraulic fracturing" shall mean the fracturing of rock by fluid for the purpose of stimulating natural gas or oil for any purpose. This section shall not apply to permits issued prior to the effective date of this act which utilize hydraulic fracturing that are subject to renewal.

S 2. This act shall take effect immediately, and shall expire and be deemed repealed on May 15, 2011. EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD17696-06-0