hydraulic fracturing

Delaware County to NYC: We want $81.3 billion for gas rights

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Above: Mike Myers as Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers," demanding one million dollars -- no, scratch that, 100 billion dollars -- from the governments of the world.

$81.3 billion. That's how much Delaware County officials are demanding in reparations for the loss of potential revenue from gas leasing, if a ban on drilling in and around the New York City watershed holds.

If that sounds like a shocking number, it's supposed to, says Dean Frazier, the county's commissioner on watershed affairs. Delaware County officials know full well the city isn't going to pay up.

"Let's be realistic. The city of New York is not going to capitulate to $80 billion," said Frazier. "The point was to show that there's a large impact."

On Feb. 22, the county Board of Supervisors passed a resolution demanding that New York State and New York City pay out $81.3 billion over 60 years to Delaware County landowners in exchange for their mineral rights. The resolution, which passed 12-4, is embedded below.  Read more

Big Fracas uses music, clever wordplay, to grab attention

Some people sign petitions, stage protests, write congress, when they're unhappy about something. Big Fracas Productions has chosen the time-honored tradition of using music to gather attention and support for their anti-hydraulic-fracturing position (Get it? Fracking?  Fracas?).  The Oneonta Theatre will host the event, which is scheduled for this Friday; doors open at 7 pm.  Area musicians from towns at risk for fracking are donating their time to make the event happen, and representatives from antifracking groups will be on hand for information sessions before the musicians, including Diane Ducey and Measured Mile, The Mountebank Brothers, Little Slice and The Good Things, and Hagalicious With Sage, take the stage at 8. For more information, see the listing in our calendar. -- Andrea Girolamo


Home rule prevails again: Middlefield's gas drilling ban upheld in court

The legality of town bans on gas drilling in New York State is being tested in court -- and so far, the bans are holding up. Today, a state judge upheld a gas drilling ban in the Otsego County town of Middlefield, which was challenged by a local dairy farming company.

The New York Times reports:

...an acting State Supreme Court justice, Donald F. Cerio Jr., found that New York law did not prohibit municipalities from enacting legislation pertaining to land use. He said that while the state had regulatory powers over “the method and manner of drilling and the like” so that the gas industry operated under uniform standards statewide, local governments could decide whether they wanted drilling at all.  Read more

Dryden's drilling ban holds water in court (so far)

Yesterday, advocates of town "home rule" won a key legal battle in the ongoing statewide debate about hydraulic fracturing. A Tompkins County state Supreme Court judge ruled that a gas drilling ban passed by the town of Dryden could stand.

Jon Campbell, a Gannett reporter who has been following the gas drilling issue closely, has the story, along with the full text of judge Phillip Rumsey's decision.

Campbell writes that Rumsey based his decision on older case law involving mining:

Judge Phillip Rumsey found that a clause in the state’s oil and gas law that gives regulatory power to the state does not prohibit municipalities from banning gas drilling or using its zoning laws to prohibit it. He cited case law that allowed a town to issue zoning regulations for the mining industry, and said the “supercedure clauses” in the state laws governing the mining and gas industries serve the same purpose.  Read more

Delaware County IDA chief calls watershed drilling ban "property rights theft"

Map of area showing a proposed ban on gas drilling in or near NYC watershed land and infrastructure.

Above: A map of areas that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is seeking to place off-limits to gas drilling, in upcoming regulations by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Last week's member email from the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce included a link to a fiery op-ed from Jim Thomson, who chairs the county's Industrial Development Agency.  Read more

New York State split down the middle on fracking

In the LA Times today (and other papers across the country) is a feature story about how the hot-button issue of hydraulic fracturing is dividing neighbor from neighbor in upstate New York.

And brother from brother: Reporter Neela Banerjee illustrates just how potent the issue is with a lede about Pete and Jack Diehl, two dairy-farming brothers in their 60s who own land together in Callicoon.  Read more

Sidney debates gas drilling moratorium

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Above: A video of a public hearing held in Sidney on Feb. 9, regarding a proposed moratorium on gas drilling and heavy industry in the town.

The meeting went on nearly four hours, and, according to attendees, drew over 100 people from the town of Sidney as well as the surrounding region to testify either for or against the wisdom of enacting the ban. No decision on the legislation has yet been made by the town board.  Read more

Tonight: Public hearing on proposed Sidney gas drilling moratorium


The Delaware County town of Sidney will hold a public hearing on the town's proposed moratorium on gas drilling and heavy industry tonight (February 9) at 7pm, at the Sidney Civic Center on 21 Liberty Street.

Gas drilling has been a contentious issue throughout the region. But it has been particularly fierce in Sidney, where an October 2011 meeting in which the town board voted to allow a gas pipeline to be built erupted in chaos. The pipeline will supply gas to a manufacturing plant operated by Amphenol, the county's largest employer, and its supporters claimed that building it was critical to keep Amphenol from relocating elsewhere.  Read more

Big Fracas Inaugural Concert

March 2, 2012 - 7:00pm

Big Fracas Productions is staging a live concert on Friday, March 2nd. This inaugural benefit event is taking place from 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM at The Oneonta Theatre, 47 Chestnut Street, Oneonta, NY. Big Fracas is a group of concerned citizens brought together to present a series of events aimed at raising awareness of gas drilling. Funds generated will be used to support local groups working to protect our communities from the dangers of gas drilling. Musicians from area towns threatened by gas drilling, along with many volunteers, are donating their time and talent. Doors open at 7:00 PM for a gathering where representatives from regional organizations and gas drilling information will be available. The performances will start at 8:00 PM featuring Diane Ducey and Measured Mile, The Mountebank Brothers, Little Slice and The Good Things, and Hagalicious With Sage.  Read more

(607) 437-1337

New York State in no rush to drill for gas

A New York Times headline yesterday: "After Early Gallop, Albany Slows to Crawl in Making Decision on Gas Drilling."

Reporter Mireya Navarro points to an accumulating pile of evidence that New York State's government is a good deal less enamored of hydraulic fracturing than it was a year or two ago. There is no money for gas-drilling regulation in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2013 budget. Department of Environmental Conservation officials are bogged down under tens of thousands of critical public comments on their draft regulations. A new state advisory commission on gas drilling has cancelled several meetings, and is currently on hiatus.

But the most telling bit of reporting is probably a quote from Southern Tier state senator Tom Libous, who has been an ardent supporter of gas drilling. From the New York Times's story:  Read more

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