After four years of study and delays by regulators in New York, it seems like we might see a light at the end of the tunnel. Over the last week there has been an influx of news articles and discussions regarding natural gas development in the state of New York. Things seem to be moving forward, although much slower than some may have hoped.
Jon Campbell reported that Governer Cuomo gave his same tired answer when asked about the State’s decision making process on hydrofracking this week at a visit to Binghampton.
“It’s a big decision for the state and obviously there’s a lot of controversy about it and people have very strong feelings on both sides of it. We’re discussing the positives to the economy, the job creation at the same time with possible consequences to the environment.
“It’s a big issue, big decision, big consequences on both sides. We want to make sure that we’re thorough. We want to make sure we have all the facts, we do all the research, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We have a great team of government professionals, outside experts making sure that we have all the information, all of the facts and then let’s make a decision based on the facts. There’s a lot of emotion—I understand that.
“I’ve heard the emotion from both sides of the argument. Let’s make a decision on the facts, not the emotion, and that’s what we’re going through right now.”
Possibly the biggest news with the most impact was the Department of Environmental Conservation’s filing of proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations with a notice to extend the “rulemaking process” for an addition ninety days and accept comments on the revisions from December 12, 2012 through January 11, 2013.
Tom Shepstone, of Energy in Depth reviews and explains some of the details of this publication in his November 30 article found here:
Shepstone identifies the setbacks, as greater than expected, and possibly difficult, but “certainly not impossible.” He points out Section 560.4
(a) No well pad or portion of a well pad may be located:
(1) within 500 feet from a residential water well, domestic supply spring or water well or spring used as a water supply for livestock or crops;
(2) within 500 feet from an inhabited dwelling or place of assembly;
(3) within a primary aquifer and a 500-foot buffer from the boundary of a primary aquifer;
(4) within a 100-year floodplain; and
(5) within 2,000 feet of any public water supply (municipal or otherwise, or the boundaries of any public water supply reservoir, natural lake or man-made impoundment (except engineered impoundments constructed for fresh water storage associated with fracturing operations) .
(b) All distances noted above are measured from the closest edge of the well pad.
Other regulations the document calls for that Shepstone goes into detail to explain:
1) The use of a closed loop tank system, instead of open pits for storing flowback fluids
2) Disclosure of hydraulic fracking fluid to the department in on a department approved form and detailed attachment. The department will then disclose the information to the public. Information must also be shared between well owners, operators and service companies and chemical suppliers.
3) The recycling and waste disposal is addressed in the following statement “The owner or operator must state in it’s plan that it will maximize the re-use and/or recycling of used drilling mud, flowback water and production brine to the maximum extent feasible”
The New York Daily News reports that also buried inside of this document was another important piece of data. Approving fracking and allowing the state to move forward with the development of natural gas would create 25,000 drililng jobs, and new jobs in numerous other industries as a result.
The short article can be found here
Energy In Depth Blogger, Cherie Messore explained in an article this week that a new pro-development newspaper and radio campaign has been rolled out across the state focusing on the message “New York: It’s your Turn.” Focusing on the benefits Pennsylvania has received because of the resource, the campaign is makes a clear point that state lines have not been drawn to deprive residents in one of the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas that the residents on the other side are reaping.
Here is an example of one of these advertisements:
Her entire article can be found here