natural gas

New York state bans fracking

 

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At a cabinet meeting that was open to the public today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens and New York Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced that the practice of natural gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be prohibited in New York State.   Read more

Town of Andes bans fracking waste

Above: Rush hour traffic in Andes, New York. Photo by Flickr user charltonlido, taken in 2010

With a unanimous vote, the town board of the Delaware County town of Andes passed a local law banning oil and natural gas waste on Tuesday, Dec. 9, according to Tom Joyce, the Andes town board member who drafted the law. 

The new law bans the sale, acquisition, storage, handling, treatment and processing of natural gas waste and oil waste within Andes town limits. It includes specific provisions on applying fracking waste to all roads within the town and disposing of such waste in the town dump or in the town wastewater treatment plant.  Read more

Along pipeline route, dozens of landowners receive letters threatening eminent domain

Above: An excerpt from a letter sent to to landowners along the route of the Constitution Pipeline on Dec. 3. Read the full letter at the bottom of this story or by clicking here

The day after receiving federal approval, the Constitution Pipeline sent letters threatening to use eminent domain authority against dozens of landowners who are reluctant to allow the 124-mile natural gas pipeline across their land.

The pipeline, which has been in the works for two and a half years, will run from Pennsylvania through New York's Delaware, Schoharie, Broome and Chenango counties. It received conditional approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, the pipeline’s law firm, Saul Ewing, began playing hardball with landowners who have not accepted the pipeline’s offer of compensation in exchange for pipeline access.  Read more

Constitution Pipeline receives federal approval, eminent domain power

Above: A natural gas pipeline being constructed. Photo courtesy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Constitution Pipeline received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 124-mile natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania through New York's Delaware, Schoharie, Broome and Chenango counties on Tuesday, Dec. 2. 

FERC's certificate of public convenience and necessity gives the Constitution Pipeline the power of eminent domain, which allows it to force landowners along the route to accept the pipeline's path through their property.

The pipeline's new powers are setting it up for a fight in the Catskills. Over half of the landowners along the route haven't agreed to allow the pipeline across their land. If they continue to resist, the pipeline can take them to court. 

Construction can begin as soon as the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issue permits for the project, which could happen early in 2015.  Read more

Sidney gas drilling moratorium struck down in court

Above: Inge Grafe-Kieklak, plaintiff in a recent lawsuit challenging a Sidney town moratorium on gas drilling, demonstrates at a pro-drilling rally in Albany on Oct. 15, 2012. Grafe-Kieklak's sign, written in her native German, translates: "Gov. Cuomo, you have no right to take our mineral rights!" Photo taken by pro-drilling blogger Andy Leahy of NY Shale Gas Now; reproduced by permission.

A state judge struck down the town of Sidney's recently-passed moratorium on gas drilling last week, ruling that the town failed to follow proper procedure in enacting the law. 

The decision has been hailed by pro-drilling advocates as a victory. But because of its narrow focus, the Sidney case is unlikely to have much impact on the larger legal question of whether towns have authority to regulate gas drilling within their borders -- an issue that is still yet to be heard by the New York State Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.  Read more

Hancock family evacuates after pipeline accident

A family on Hungry Hill in the Delaware County town of Hancock was forced to evacuate their home for the night on Thursday, December 5, after workers building the new Millennium Pipeline natural gas compression station knocked on their door and told them there had been an accident on the site.

The station in Hancock has been under construction since October, and is being built to increase pressure and gas output on the Millennium Pipeline, which stretches across New York State's Southern Tier from Steuben County to Rockland County.

According to Millennium spokesperson Steve Sullivan, workers on the site were connecting another line to the main line when something went awry, forcing the workers to vent millions of gallons of gas from a 10-mile-long stretch of 30-inch pipeline into the atmosphere.

"They needed to vent the gas for safety purposes," Sullivan said. "It was a mechanical issue."

There was no fire at the site, Sullivan said. He said that the family was advised to leave their house for their own safety.  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Support for gas pipelines is based on a false promise

Dear Editor:

Support for the Constitution and Leatherstocking Pipelines is based primarily on the false promise of affordable shale gas. False, since the price of this gas is too volatile to make it a reliable energy source in the future.

With so much drilling, and not much demand, there is now a glut of gas. Because of this, prices sank from over $13 a unit in 2008 to under $2 in 2011. Today the price is about $4. Yet the break even cost of production is over $8. The volatile price of gas will be determined not by local costs but world wide supply and demand.

To maximize profit, gas companies have pressured the US Department of Energy (DOE) into considering the export of liquified gas (LNG) to foreign countries. Twenty export applications have been filed. The DOE secretary commented, "If the government does not allow more exports, companies will not have the economic justification to drill for the gas at all."  Read more

Southern Tier: The new North Pennsylvania?

Currently making the rounds of Change.org: A petition by pro-drilling Southern Tier residents to allow Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Delaware, Steuben and Tioga Counties to secede from New York State and join Pennsylvania

The signers, frustrated by New York State's long delay in issuing natural gas drilling regulations, are apparently mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore:

The Southern Tier of New York State has been treated as a sacrifice zone by those other New Yorkers who would restrict us from developing our natural gas resources and revitalizing our economy. Those resources are ours and we are entitled to use them to save our farms, our families and our future. We, therefore, as residents of Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Delaware, Steuben and Tioga Counties, petition the legislature for the rights of Southern Tier counties to secede from the State of New York and join with the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania to be part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Read more

Olive and Andes town boards ban fracking

Photo of New York City's Ashokan Reservoir. Photo by Flickr user dougtone; published under Creative Commons license.

Two towns in New York City's Catskills watershed passed bans on gas drilling on Tuesday: Andes, near the Pepacton Reservoir in Delaware County, and Olive, near the Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County. Both Andes and Olive had previously passed temporary moratoriums on the practice.

Because of their overlap with the watershed that supplies New York City's drinking water, neither town was likely to see gas drilling, at least in the near future. But both had large citizen movements in support of passing a ban, in case the Department of Environmental Conservation reverses its current stance against drilling within the New York City watershed.  Read more

DEC releases new draft gas drilling regulations

On Thursday afternoon, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation unveiled its latest set of proposed regulations to govern hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The new proposed regulations replace an earlier set of draft regulations, issued September 7, 2011.

The latest move from the DEC extends the agency's timeline for finalizing its hydrofracking regulations for another 90 days. Public comment on the current draft will be accepted from December 12, 2012 through 5pm on January 11, 2013.

North Country Radio reports that there are a pair of studies that also need to be completed before drilling could begin:  Read more


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