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advocacy for natural resources: hydrofracking


hydrofracking: summary of Current action

Since 2008 the NYS Department of Conservation has been drafting and revising a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the extraction of gas from the Marcellus Shale deposit ,which covers much of the southern tier and the Catskills, including portions of the New York City watershed. In the future it may also look at issuing permits in the Utica Shale, which covers additional regions of upstate New York. Extraction would be done by means of the process of High-volume, Slick-water, Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (hydrofracking) in which one drills vertically to the level of the shale deposit (often over 5,000 feet) and then horizontally for several thousand feet. Water, combined with sand and undisclosed chemicals, is then injected into the well under high pressure. This fractures the shale and enables extraction of the natural gas. This is a relatively new technique and should not be confused with older vertical methods of hydraulic fracturing.

Extraction of natural gas by means of fracking has been exempted from most federal regulation. Evidence from other states indicates that the process has the potential to degrade the environment if not adequately regulated. The League supports national regulation of hydrofracking and a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State at least until the full life cycle and cumulative environmental impact of this method of gas extraction has been fully considered by the Environmental Protection Agency. If the results of that study indicate that the process can be made sufficiently safe, the League supports strong regulation accompanied by strict enforcement and intensive oversight. In addition, the League believes that careful planning concerning the pace and extent of the drilling must be done, since this is a highly industrial process that will occur in predominantly rural areas. This planning should include an analysis of any impact the extraction activity will have on the current local economy, especially the growing agricultural and tourism businesses in the areas over the shale.

hydrofracking: Current Bills

To determine the current status of a bill, go to http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us  and type in the listed bill number.

  • A7400/S5592, which has passed in the Assembly and the League supports in the Senate.
  • A3245/S.3472, which would enable municipalities to exercise “home rule” as it relates to the presence and location of oil, gas, or solution mining within their borders. A.7103/S.4616, which would amend the environmental conservation law to designate all waste resulting from the exploration, development, extraction, or production of crude oil or natural gas, including fracking fluids and produced by the h7ydrofracking process, as hazardous wastes, subject to the same regulatory processes as govern hazardous wastes generated by industrial activity within the state.
  • A.10490-A/ S.07592-A This bill would place have placed a moratorium upon the issuance of new permits for horizontal hydraulic fracturing until 120 days after the environmental protection agency released its report on the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater and freshwater supplies.
hydrofracking: Current Regulatory Activity
  • Comments on 2014 Draft State Energy Plan(5/29/2014)
    The League contracted with Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc. to perform an evaluation of potential economically recoverable Marcellus shale natural gas in New York as a result of determining that New York State’s proposed 2014 Energy Plan lacks this vital information.
hydrofracking: Testimony
hydrofracking: Legislative Memos
hydrofracking: Recent Letters, Press Releases, Op Ed Pieces, and Press Coverage
hydrofracking: League Positions

League action in this area is governed by numerous environmental positions.  The basis for action is the LWVUS natural resources positions, contained in LWVUS Impact on Issues 2008-2010 and located at pp. 44, 46-47, 51-54, , 57-58 and the LWVNY water resources position, contained in LWVNY Impact on Issues 2005-2007.

At the June, 2010 LWUS convention, the members adopted a resolution to call upon the Board to use the resources of the League to support and lobby for significant strengthening of appropriate regulation, oversight, inspection, and penalties associated with the development of fossil fuel resources. This strengthening should include elimination from national legislation of the exemptions for drilling and mining, as well as additional legislation requiring the federal agencies to regulate drilling and mining in a manner consistent with the preservation of a healthy environment. The membership also called on the Board to communicate with the President and the Congress putting them on notice that Leagues across the country are deeply concerned about this issue.  Motion #705-348, LWV of Tompkins County, NY.

hydrofracking: Written  Materials (League)
hydrofracking: Other Written Materials (Non-League)
hydrofracking: Resources
hydrofracking: How to Get Involved
  • We are always looking for League members to volunteer for the Hydrofracking issue committee.  This committee functions largely electronically, reviewing and drafting materials.  To join or for more information, Please contact Beth Radow.