Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series focusing on the fracking debate in New York. Part two of the series will be featured on ShaleStuff.com tomorrow.
A strong debate ensues in New York among residents, government officials, anti-fracking groups, and natural gas development supporters.
As of right now, New York is under a drilling moratorium, but the moratorium has done little to quelsh the ongoing battle over fracking.
The battle could come to an end as a four-year study of the risks accociated with the use of fracking in Marcellus and Utica formations of New York State is coming to a conclusion. A draft proposal suggested limited state approval for drilling and fracturing, but final conclusions on the study have not been released yet and a vote on the issue has yet to take place.
It is expected that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will allow limited drilling. A decision will require a vote of the legislature, which will not be able to vote until at least January when it returns to Albany.
Gov. Cuomo himself has been quoted as saying there are no immediate plans for a decision on hydraulic fracturing. He is waiting for results of the study and a determination from the state Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the safety of fracking. Cuomo said he will not pressure the agency to issue a decision. He also said that a final determination on the part of the DEC will not equal a final determination in the fate of fracking in New Yoark. He said he anticipates lawsuits either way leading to a long-term, ongoing situation before a drill will ever meet the dirt.
Anti-fracking groups, like the newly announced Artists Against Fracking (led by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon), say they fear that fracking will ruin their state and will harm public health and safety.
Natural gas development supporters like the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York believe that fracking will have a positive economic impact, bringing business opportunities, revenue, and jobs.
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping sand, chemicals and large amounts of water into a shale formation to crack it and release the gas.
Hydrofracking of the Marcellus Shale formation has been taking place for years in other states.
Check out ShaleStuff.com tomorrow for Part 2 of New York: To Frack Or Not To Frack series. Tomorrow’s story will discuss a recent poll of Upstate New York voters, a new study (commissioned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) that focused on the benefits tied to expanded use of natural gas, and how gas pipeline operators already have their sights set on New York.