On Hydrofracking, Enviro Group Turns to Financial Regulators

0

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration further delays a decision on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, a top Albany environmental group is turning up the heat on the Department of Financial Services.

Environmental Advocates of New York sent a letter last week to Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, again asking him to “seek information from insurance companies about how they intend to deal with the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations.”

It’s the second time the group has mailed Lawsky on this issue; the first came after Nationwide Insurance re-affirmed that their homeowners policies do not cover damages from gas drilling. Afterward, Environmental Advocates sent an email to 10 other top insurers, receiving a response MetLife, whose homeowner policies do not cover potential fracking damages. (MetLife said additional coverage can be purchased for “earth movement,” but not for potential pollution.)

“Given the wide scope of potential drilling that is anticipated in New York State in the coming decades,business owners, landowners, consumers, and state and local officials should have a better idea of howthe insurance industry will choose to address the well-documented risks associated with hydrofracking,” Environmental Advocates program director Katherine Nadeau wrote to Lawsky. “In this instance, it would seem that your agency can shed light on the risks landowners and businessesmay be assuming should New York allow fracking.”

The Department of Financial Services declined comment.

Tom West, an oil and gas industry attorney and lobbyist based in Albany, said insurance policies have not proven to be an issue in states where oil and gas drilling is prevalent.

“If that were a problem, there would be a lot of homeowners in the 30 states that support oil and gas drilling that would be in a heap of trouble,” West said. “It’s another issue that’s getting thrown at the refrigerator by the fracktivists to see if they can find some way to stop the development of our indigenous energy resources.”

Here’s the Environmental Advocates’ letter, dated Sept. 21:

Second Fracking Investigation Request

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.