Cuomo's new plan for hydrofracking: Taking a page from the NRDC?
6/13/12 - 11:23 am
Anonymous sources, including a senior Department of Environmental Conservation official, told the New York Times that Cuomo is seeking to limit the practice to areas where the Marcellus Shale formation is deepest, along the New York/Pennsylvania border.
Towns would also have to agree to permit hydraulic fracturing within their borders:
Even within that southwest New York region — primarily Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga Counties — drilling would be permitted only in towns that agree to it, and would be banned in Catskill Park, aquifers and nationally designated historic districts.
From the New York Times's map showing areas where the Marcellus Shale is deepest, it appears that parts of Delaware and Sullivan County would also be in the allowed zone, although Catskill Park and the New York City watershed would make much of the Catskills region off-limits for drilling.
The new plan, if enacted, would introduce a new twist in the evolving legal landscape of home rule in New York State. Whether towns have the legal right to enact bans against gas drilling has been the subject of intense debate, two highly-publicized lawsuits and some proposed legislation over the last several years.
It's possible that Cuomo is taking some advice from a national environmental group. Longtime gas drilling reporter Tom Wilber, who blogs about the issue at Shale Gas Review, draws a possible link between Cuomo's plan and a memo sent to state officials in January by the Natural Resources Defense Council:
The NRDC memo asked regulators to consider a three-year demonstration project in several “geographically limited areas.” Depending on the outcome, the state could then decide whether to “advance further a broader HVHF (High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing) program.” The memo was signed by NRDC senior attorneys Eric Goldstein and Kate Sinding, and consultant Craig Michaels. The NRDC proposal was a response to the DEC’s environmental review – called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement -- evaluating shale gas development and fracking.
Wilber notes that the New York Times story did not explicitly link the two, but writes that the Cuomo plan as Hakim describes it "squares with the NRDC recommendations."
The NRDC memo has taken heat from grassroots anti-fracking activists in New York State, Wilber writes:
..the NRDC proposal has drawn criticism from activists, who argue that if drilling is unsafe in one watershed, it’s unsafe in others. Sandra Steingraber, founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking, characterize the places where drilling will be permitted on a trial basis as “sacrifice zones.”
|EXHIBITING A RICH COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY FINE ART|
|Dressed in Holiday Decor|
|Join us Saturday, December 7th for a Holiday Celebration|
|Shop Small Business Saturday, November 30th|
|Be Inspired. Browse our home and gift collections.|
|Earth's Minerals - Bath Salts AND Gems. Come see and smell what's new!|
|Holiday Presents from the Blue Barn Collection|
|THANKSGIVING SALE AT THE BLUE BARN|
|GIANT THANKSGIVING SALE AT THE BLUE BARN|
|From the Lyon Mountain Blue Barn Collection|
|Gotsch Tree Farm Open This Weekend: Blue and White Spruce Christmas Trees for Sale Starting at $20|
|Blue and White Spruce Christmas Trees for Sale|
|Winter Design - 10% Off from December 1st 2013 Through March 1st 2014|
|Ski Season Has Started Cozy Cabins Available!|
|AVOID BLACK FRIDAY RUSH, VISIT PINE HILL BOOKS FOR HIGH VALUE INEXPENSIVE HOLIDAY GIFTS|
|GIVE THE GIFT OF CATSKILL MOUNTAINS AND HUDSON VALLEY HISTORY ON DVD|
|Attention Hunters!...And Outdoor Enthusiasts of Every Kind|
|Job opening: Installer / Service Technician – Margaretville Telephone Company (MTC)|
|Black Friday Weekend Savings at the Emerson Country Stores!|
|A Thanksgiving Dinner at the Catamount Restaurant|
|HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley® Receives NYS Department of Health Support for Enhanced Regional Planning Approach|
|Eureka Market's mouth-watering catering menu now available online. Pies, turkey and all the fixin's, and much more|
|Thanksgiving @ The Andes Hotel|
|11.23-MEDITERRANEAN NITE WITH BELLY DANCING STYLINGS OF B3 BELLYDANCE, SHOW STARTS @ 7:30pm, NO COVER AT THE ANDES HOTEL|
|Watershed Agricultural Council - 20th Anniversary - PUBLIC AWARENESS VIDEO|
|Outpatient Clinical Social Worker|