hydraulic fracturing

Anti-frackers and DEC chief weigh in against XTO water withdrawal

Yesterday's Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) hearing at Deposit High School was packed, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. The topic under discussion was XTO Energy's request to withdraw water from Broome County's Oquaga Creek to use in hydraulic fracturing:

About 300 people crowded into Deposit High School's auditorium for a hearing on XTO Energy's application to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons of water per day from Oquaga Creek in the Town of Sanford ...

While both sides enjoyed healthy representation on Wednesday, the majority of the speakers spoke against the withdrawal.

"A large withdrawal operation with a staging area for trucks and industrial activity would negatively affect the best use of this creek," said Sullivan County resident Carolyn Duke.  Read more

NY AG wallops feds with fracking lawsuit

Remember when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threatened back in April to sue the federal government over hydraulic fracturing? He meant it.

The New York Daily News Daily Politics blog has posted the complaint that Schneiderman filed today against a slew of federal agencies.  (You can read the document below.)

Schneiderman is asking the courts to stop the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) from issuing regulations for hydraulic fracturing within the Delaware River basin. The gist of Schneiderman's argument is that the the various federal agencies that sit on the DRBC broke the law when they drafted regulations for fracking within the basin last year without first doing an environmental impact study.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to conduct "a full review of actions that may cause significant environmental impacts" before they allow them, Schneiderman argued in a press release today:

Schneiderman called on the federal government to comply with its NEPA obligations by suspending its consideration of the proposed regulations and undertaking a full review of all public health and safety risks posed by natural gas development in the Basin ... 

While the federal agencies determined that natural gas drilling in the Basin would potentially result in significant environmental impacts and that the study of those impacts should be performed, the DRBC’s lead agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responded last week and made clear that it and the other member agencies would make no such commitment. The determination undermines the NEPA requirement.

As a result, Schneiderman announced today that he is filing a lawsuit in federal District Court in Brooklyn, where General DeLuca’s office is located, to compel an environmental review before regulations authorizing gas drilling are finalized.

Gannett's Star-Gazette has a good run-down of the forces behind the lawsuit. The story, written last week, quotes Peter DeLuca, the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official who is the federal point man on the DRBC, explaining that an impact study would be redundant and possibly beyond the DRBC's powers:  Read more

Deposit school to host DRBC hearing on fracking in the Delaware River Basin

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Above: The approximate location of the area XTO Energy is seeking to take water from, in the town of Sanford, Broome County. From Google Maps.  Read more

Town of Otsego bans fracking

According to a post by Adrian Kuzminski of Sustainable Otsego and the Daily Star, the town of Otsego decided on Wednesday to ban hydraulic fracking within its borders. From a post on the Sustainable Otsego website:

It is the first rural town in New York State to explicitly invoke its home rule authority to block gas drilling as a type of undesirable heavy industry incompatible with the town's comprehensive plan. The town acted in response to the overwhelming sentiment of the enrolled voters in the town opposed to gas drilling and heavy industry, documented through petitions and surveys as well as testimony at privilege of the floor and at a public hearing.

DRBC postpones decision on XTO water withdrawal permit

Yesterday, we reported that the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) was considering granting a permit to ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy to withdraw water for hydraulic fracturing from a trout stream in Broome County. According to a press release from Delaware Riverkeeper, the DRBC has tabled the decision for a future meeting.

XTO's permit application was on the docket for today's meeting. According to the draft docket from the DRBC describing the application, the company is seeking to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons a day from the Oquaga Creek, most of which would be used to stimulate horizontal and/or vertical natural gas wells by hydraulic fracturing in Delaware and Broome Counties.  Read more

Levon, Arlo and local beer protest gas drilling

This week's Friday the 13th is going to be unlucky for gas companies if Brewery Ommegang has any say in the matter. The brewery, which announced last year that is opposed hydraulic fracturing development in New York, is throwing a "Concert to Fight Fracking" starring folk legends Levon Helm and Arlo Guthrie Friday night.

Ommegang's opposition to fracking is personal. In its January statement about gas drilling, it explained that hydraulic fracturing could ruin its beer and business:  Read more

Levon Helm Band with Special Guest Arlo Guthrie - Concert to Fight Fracking

May 13, 2011 - 7:00pm

Join us at Brewery Ommegang, Friday May 13th for rock and roll legends, the Levon Helm Band and Arlo Gurthie in a concert against Fracking.

The concert will be held on the grounds at Brewery Ommegang at 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown NY on May 13. Parking will be provided in a lot adjacent to the brewery. Doors open at 4 pm. No outside food or beverage will be allowed. We encourage guests to bring chairs, blankets, umbrellas, etc. If you are camping, you may bring a cooler with you. If you do not have a camping pass, no coolers will be allowed in. The show will go on rain or shine. No refunds will be given in the event of rain.

Will a Broome County trout stream be used for hydraulic fracturing?

We'll find out tomorrow whether the Delaware River Basin Commission will allow water from the Oquaga Creek, a trout stream that drains into the West Branch of the Delaware River, to be used in hydraulic fracturing projects in Delaware and Broome counties.

The DRBC will meet at 1:30pm in West Trenton, New Jersey for a public hearing where it will vote on a slew of applications for various uses of water within the Delaware River Basin.

One of those applications, XTO Energy, Inc., D-2010-022-1, caught the attention of the environmental community last week for its request to withdraw water to use for "natural gas exploration and production activities in Broome and Delaware Counties in the State of New York."  Read more

Study: Fracking linked to flaming faucets

Still from the movie "Gasland."

A team of scientists at Duke University published a paper yesterday which should make Gasland director Josh Fox very happy: It provides peer-reviewed, prestigiously-published scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing may contaminate drinking water with methane, making it flammable.

The most compelling image in Fosh's documentary is of a flaming facuet, but until now, there has been no scientific study suggesting that fracking might have something to do with it. 

The Duke study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday, contains the first evidence that fracking and flaming faucets might be connected, its authors wrote in a whitepaper released along with the study yesterday.  Read more

"Fracktivists" rally in Albany

Thanks to a certain major worldwide news event, Monday's rally in Albany calling for a ban on hydraulic fracturing in New York state didn't get that much press.

WGXC attended the rally, which attracted about 300 anti-fracking protesters and featured speakers such as Gasland director Josh Fox, and posted extensive coverage of the various speeches on Tuesday. The Daily Star ran a story about the rally yesterday. And the Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog covered the protests on Monday with a video showing demonstrators protesting inside the capitol, where, the blog reports, Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive suite was locked down.

Luckily, our correspondent Jessica Vecchione attended the rally and put together a thorough report, which you can watch above.  Read more

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