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Frack this: Oil and gas industry leaders angry over DEC's report

Oil and Gas industry leaders are furious over the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s announcement on Wednesday that uncertainties and possible adverse health and environmental impacts are associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

They say that there’s no science to support the DEC’s findings, that the announcement was politically motivated, and that it wasn’t based on fact or the industry’s long safety record.

As a result, it appears the vast natural gas supply that rests beneath the Marcellus Shale that runs through New York will remain untapped.

“It’s a sad day when an industry has been shut out that could have brought exponentially more jobs to the state than any other single industry currently being considered in New York,” said Brad Gill, executive director of Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York.

High-volume hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking is a process to access natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, which runs through parts of the Midwest and the Northeast. It includes injecting water and chemicals deep into the shale formation to release gas. The process, while used all over the world, including nearby states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, has come under fire by opponents who claim it puts water supplies at risk.

Karen Moreau, New York State petroleum council executive director for the American Petroleum Institute, said that nearly seven years of review by the DEC should have resulted in a science-based document that followed the rule of law.

She was referring to the DEC’s Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which can be found here.

“This clearly was not the case,” Moreau said. “The governor’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was a disservice to thousands of struggling New York families in the Marcellus shale-rich southern tier. This politically-motivated document adds salt to the wounds across the state leaving New Yorkers wondering where the jobs will come from now.”

Gill took Moreau’s comment a step further, and called out New York’s political process.

“Once again, New York’s flawed and corrupt political process played out instead of true science and reason when deciding whether or not to allow this safe and environmentally sound activity that has been proven in more than 30 other gas producing states across the country,” he said. “Instead, New York has chosen to sit back and reap the benefits of low-cost natural gas from other states while not contributing to the nation’s energy independence and national security.”

“After seven years, it is profoundly disappointing that fear and misinformation have won the day,” said Heather Briccetti, President and CEO of the Business Council of New York State.

Briccetti said that the Business Council and its members devoted significant time and effort to the development of rigorous regulations that would allow high volume hydraulic fracturing to be done safely in New York.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Environmental Conservation ignored their statutory responsibility to promote the development of New York’s plentiful oil and gas resources,” she said. “We are confident that today’s decision will ultimately be reversed. But for many New Yorkers looking for new jobs and new economic opportunity, that day will come too late.”

Gill also talked about the decision being reversed one day.

“Unfortunately, New York is not open for business unless it’s a business that the political powers approve,” he said. “Hopefully this decision will be successfully challenged and ultimately reversed.”