Five years later, fracking pause still in effect


Five years and hundreds of thousands of public comments later, what has amounted to a moratorium on shale-gas drilling in New York remains in place.

Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary of the state’s official move to put large-scale hydrofracking permit applications on hold, a period of time opponents of the technique say speaks to their strength and advocates say points to a display of political indecision.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, a statewide group of pro-drilling landowners, is hosting a news conference in Binghamton to mark the anniversary. A five-year delay is “ridiculous” and landowners are “fed up,” the group wrote in a memo to local organizations.

Many environmental and anti-fracking groups, citing the potential for damage to water supplies and community character, have called on the state to either ban shale-gas drilling or implement a lengthier moratorium.

Then Gov. David Paterson officially put high-volume fracking on pause in New York on July 23, 2008, when he ordered the Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct an in-depth environmental review of the technique and craft permitting guidelines.

“Natural gas exploration has the potential to increase domestic supplies of natural gas, create jobs, expand the tax base and benefit the upstate economy,” Paterson said in a statement at the time. “My administration is committed to working with the public and local governments to ensure that if the drilling goes forward, it takes place in the most environmentally responsible way possible.”

The review, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, has continued ever since, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration inheriting it when he took office in 2011. Last year, Health Commissioner Nirav Shah was asked to review the DEC’s work before a final fracking decision is made; Despite saying in January his work would be completed in “a few weeks,” Shah’s review remains incomplete.

(AP File Photo)


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  1. Victor Furman on

    As an individual I can not comprehend the reasoning that Governor Cuomo is holding up this tremendous opportunity for all of NYS. Every state that has shale bed formation gas reserves have gone forward to the extraction process except NY! Not only showing the oil and gas companies that NYS is closed for business but also shows other companies that NYS is too difficult with too much government red tape for consideration to relocate to NY. I say this because of the survey that was publicized a few weeks back in which NYS was declared as the hardest state to start a business or relocate to in a survey handed out to several different CEO’s of different types of companies. Upstate landowners like many NYKers are suffering hard economical times losing their farms and homes at a high rate of speed because of a moratorium on drilling that which the science and studies have been completed and concluded to be safe. In fact the EPA just finished a year long study in Pennsylvania stating that no water aquifer has been polluted by the process of hydraulic fracturing in concurrence with multiple completed studies across the nation of over 1.75 million gas wells. To me this proves the entire delay on drilling in NY is political.

  2. NY IS NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS! This is a prime example of the argument as to why would any business, even with a no-tax carrot, even consider relocating to NY.

    Upstate will remember this inaction by King Cuomo come Nov 2014 elections.

  3. Hugh Kimball on

    Despite the false claims of certain landowners and the coalition, NYS is continuing to pay attention to the majority of the public who have actally studied the issue, know the risks, and value clean water and clean air above the interests of the industry and a small group of large landowners who are deluded into thinking that they will become rich and do not care what happens to their land or to their neighbors.

  4. The US and New York constitutions were set up with representative governments to prevent mob rule and uphold the rule of law. The Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution provide various protections for property rights. The Supreme Court has applied these protections to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.

    If anyone thinks the majority should prevail over legal rights enjoined to those paying property taxes, lets go back to the collonial days and the law of King George.

  5. Hugh Kimball on

    Ed, you can farm your land and make a number of uses of it, but you do not have a right to carry on an activity that will ruin my water, foul my air, make it impossible for me to sell my property due to the inabity of a buyer to get a mortgage or to insure it.

  6. The fact that fracking has not been allowed yet actually speaks volumes-Cuomo DOES understand that there are many and varied risks and dangers inherent in hydrofracking. States which have gone forward with this process are dealing with spills, leaks, illegal dumping of frackwater waste, dead animals, sick humans, pollution, methane gas burning off-which is way more dangerous to the environment than CO2, by the way…and infrastructure damage. A report on the costs vs the benefits of hydrofracking that just came out, shows that taxpayers end up paying for the damage once the gas industry does their thing and moves on…i don’t know about you,but my taxes are high enough; I certainly don’t want them to have to be raised to pay for the damage that the billion dollar profit making fossil fuel industry leaves behind. Ban fracking entirely, Gov.!

  7. I agree 100% with Ed12309 and admiré his Comments and Analysis.I think he ccomprehends the US Constitution and its Original Internet.

    Ed12309! Keep it up! America needs People like You Sir! And, Please accept My Standing Ovations.

    God Bless America.

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller

  8. This is a David and Goliath moment. What makes a delay too long? It upsets the plans the gas industry has made to steal our resources and property rights. The state is doing the right thing in protecting its citizens by subjecting the gas industry to intense scrutiny, including a health review. Unhappy about delays? Go to Ohio. The water contamination and community degradation across PA is catching up with the industry lies that claim drilling is good for us. New York is smart to delay. One day, we’ll ban it and that will end the “delay”.

  9. The Shale Gas isn’t going anywhere, and it’s a good thing for NY and for all it’s people. Just take a look at the people in the mid-west and in Penn. where land values have plundered to zero, because “who’s going to buy land when one can’t drink the water?” Is just one of the many examples of what High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing will do to this state. If New York puts a ban on fracking, just think what infrastructure could be used! Solar panels on every roof, wind generated out in the ocean, algae based bio fuels stored and transported over the state for use in cars/trucks etc. Switch grass based bio fuels, geo thermal heating an cooling used in homes and buildings. While the technology for this all is at an infant stage, New York could jettison this technology into a new realm as a model for the rest of the world. Because the rest of the world is watching what happens in New York.

  10. ANTI’s ARE LIARS. The solar panel/wind turbine argument was discounted when the Cornell white paper came out a few months ago. You would have to reduce electrical consumption 35% to lower demand coupled with wind turbines over half the state. Put one in your back yard, not mine. PA property values are increasing, due to demand for housing and rising rents.

    How about delaying the requirement to pay property taxes. If NY government willnot allow a property owner to fully enjoy the use of their property, then taxes should be forgone, then we are on equal footing. The time has come for New York to compensate for the confiscation of property rights.

  11. Joanne Corey on

    In the past five years, a lot of important scientific research has been published in relations to HVHF, such as studies of methane migration into water supplies (Duke), methane emissions from drilling areas (NOAA), leakage rates from distribution lines in cities such as Boston and NYC, and human and animal health effects (CO Public Health, Cornell, Baylor), as well as the record of violations, accidents, and pollution in other states. Five years ago, there was not enough science to reach a decision. The science in the last five years has quantified some of the risks and opened up additional areas of concern, especially in air/atmospheric effects, and also shown that the industry is currently ill-equipped to eliminate or mitigate these risks. New York was right to be cautious and must either continue the moratorium to protect our environment and our people or proceed to a ban, as the state of Vermont has done and Massachusetts is considering.

  12. ANTI’s ARE LIARS. lets start with the facts:
    1) The Duke study was inconclusive, a causal relationship with drilling not verified with methane in water occuring miles away and attributed to biogenic sources
    2) Gas leakage rates were reduced by 50% after the NOAA report was released. NOAA study was flawed and the report adjusted
    3) Pipe leakage rates? If gas leaks, it has a smell from mercaptans that are mixed to detect leaks. no leaks, all lies
    4) animal health effects? sorry, no dead cows. Anti’s want to take pictures of cows laying down, it is related to changes in atmospheric pressure
    5) human health effects? what study, produce the study. In areas where gas drilling is ocuring, human health has improved due to the better economic effect and access to healthcare
    The only science the ANTIs use is the science of LIES!

  13. I’m from upstate NY and am currently working in western North Dakota. Unemployment is below 2% here,tons of cattle farms(didn’t see any dead animals yet), new roads, schools, homes going up everywhere, land and home values are going UP not down, everyone is content and happy. Everyone has money (even the small guy) and LOW taxes here. The oil industry here is booming and it spread to all sectors. Water supply is good. Cleaner environment wise than NY. No trash on the ground and people are friendly. So please tell me why NY doesn’t allow fracking? Keep voting democrat and watch NY slip into oblivion and poverty….

  14. We all know the gas companies have paid propagandists working on their behalf. How many of the above pro fracking comments are made by paid individuals?