Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series focusing on the fracking debate in New York. Part one of the series focused on when a decision is expected in the drilling debate. It was featured on ShaleStuff.com yesterday.
Although New York has yet to face its fate in the decision to frack or not to frack, some already have their sights set on natural gas development.
Pipeline operators are among the people lining up in the hopes of prospering from the natural gas boom.
Currently there’s a proposal for a pipeline to carry the fuel from Pennsylvania to Northeast markets like Boston and New York. And if Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifts the drilling ban a proposed $750 million pipeline in southern New York could also provide supplies.
Cuomo said this week that a decision will not be rushed. He said the decision and the resulting feedback (likely in the form of lawsuits), will be an ongoing process. However, Cuomo hasn’t denied rumors that he plans to allow drilling to begin in the area near the Pennsylvania border.
The proposed Constitution Pipeline would run from Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania through the New York counties of Broome, Chenango, and Delware. The pipeline would connect with the Tennessee and Iroquois pipelines southwest of Albany.
The fully contracted pipeline, propsed by Williams Partners, is being contested by residents in the area where it would be built. Concerns among residents include pipe leaks and explosions.
Others in New York, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg fully support natural gas development. He recently commissioned an IFC International study that focuses on the benefits tied to the expanded use of clean-buring American natural gas.
“Natural gas is a low-cost, low-emmissions fuel that makes good economic and environmental sense. This study confirms natural gas’ importance to New York City’s reliable, clean energy future,” Bloomberg said.
The study found that natural gas production in the northeast has reduced prices across the U.S. for consumers and manufacturers.
Some of the other key findings include:
- Approximately 57 percent of New York City’s energy use is fueled by natural gas.
- By 2030, 80 percent of the total Northeast gas demand of 5.4 Tcf is met from Marcellus Shale production.
- ICF forecasts major shifts in the sources of gas supply for the New York City region as a consequence of the growth of Marcellus Shale gas production. Northeastern supplies, including Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale production, increase from 13 percent of New York City supply in 2005 to 88.5 percent by 2030. … LNG supplies also should decline substantially as LNG imports fall in the face of shale gas output.
- Within New York City, most power plants already use natural gas as their primary fuel source.
- With the recent development of new shale gas supplies, and their abundance, North American production will keep pace with this growth in demand at gas prices that are moderate, compared to recent history. Indeed, gas prices are expected to remain moderate over the 2010 to 2030 period. By the end of the forecast period, ICF believes that over 80 percent of the gas going to New York City will be shale gas from nearby areas.
Mayor Bloomberg isn’t the only New Yorker that supports natural gas drilling. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Upstate New York voters are in favor of drilling the Marcellus Shale.
Upstate voters support drilling 48 to 40 percent. Despite the support many do believe that fracking will harm the environment (48 percent said yes it will, 14 percent said no it will not, and 37 percent were undecided). Even with the possible environmental threat, by a narrow 45 to 41 percent, voters say the economic benefits of drilling outweigh the environmental concerns.
One thing is for sure: The debate will continue.