New York state extend fracking moratorium until 2017

The New York State Assembly has provided a Bill that extends their current moratorium for three more years, until the year 2017.

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The Assembly passed a three-year, state wide moratorium of oil and natural gas drilling permits by an overwhelming 89-to-34 count to allow for more time to study the environmental and health  impact of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, a horizontal drilling process used to extract natural gas and oil, and its potential to contaminate drinking water supplies and harm the environment.

New York state has been under a fracking moratorium since 2008, with the most recent one passing in 2013, that would have expired in May 2015.

The news was announced by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney on 16th June.

“We have heard from thousands of residents across the state about many issues associated with hydrofracking, and prudent leadership demands that we take our time to address all these concerns,” said Silver. “We do not need to rush into this. The natural gas deposits within the Marcellus Shale are not going to go anywhere. Before hydrofracking can be authorized, we need the best scientific information available to help us make informed decisions that will not compromise the safety of our drinking water, public health and the environment.”

“These energy resources found in our state have the potential to provide great economic benefit to New Yorkers, but we cannot let that blind us from thoroughly looking into and investigating hydrofracking’s impact on our environment and human health,” said Sweeney. “I call on the Senate to pass this bill so there will be time for a comprehensive review of all the available information well before this process gets the green light.”

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Carrying a total of 63 sponsors including Sweeney and Silver, the bill (A.5424-B) suspends the issuance of drilling permits to ensure the legislature has adequate time to review its impact on public health and the environment via multiple toxic and hazardous air and water contaminants, including a number of known or suspected carcinogens.

The Bill also states that:

– There shall be no horizontal natural gas or oil drilling

– no high-volume hydraulic fracturing shall be conducted

– the department of environmental conservation shall issue no permits for well drilling of oil or natural gas that will involve use of horizontal or high volume hydraulic fracturing.

To view the Bill, click here.

A beginner’s guide to fracking: 2 – its immediate impact

The plan for Fermanagh is for up to sixty multi-well pads with up to 24 wells per pad. Each pad would probably be around 6.5 acres in size (though it could be up to three times larger), consisting of a concrete/stone platform with rig drill, water pit, trucks, waste-water containers, generators and compressors etc. The pads would be located approximately 1 mile apart, and joined by access roads, representing a total of 40,000 acres of development.

A multiwell HVHF pad. The extent to which the ground underneath is more than what many people imagine. However the extent of the infrastructure above ground cannot be underestimated either. Collectively, the technology of unconventional shale gas extraction has many varied social, environmental and economic negative impacts (image soure: peak-oil.com)
A multiwell HVHF pad. The extent to which the ground underneath is affected, is much larger than what many people imagine. However the scale of the infrastructure above ground cannot be underestimated either. Collectively, the technology of unconventional shale gas extraction has many varied social, environmental and economic negative impacts (image soure: peak-oil.com).

There will be a change in land use as the area will gradually become a heavily industrialised zone dotted with frack pads, some of which will be located near farms, houses, villages, rivers and lakes.

Airborne dust and smog from these sites can carry harmful toxic chemicals over many miles, affecting the whole of Fermanagh, while heavy traffic will damage our roads and the repair bill will fall on the tax payer.

Lights will be burning around the sites all night, as work often continues twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, with constant noise from generators, pumps, drilling and trucks.

There is a risk of water contamination (usually caused by human error) and serious health concerns for humans and animals.

All this disruption will take its toll on farming, domestic animals, wildlife and plants.

Fracking will damage the local economy – tourism, agriculture etc. as there is a risk of contamination of beef, milk and other agri-food produce and a certainty that we will suffer the loss of our county’s clean and green image. Any jobs promised will be far fewer than has been suggested, most likely low-paid and short-term – a fraction of those which are likely to be lost in agriculture and tourism.

Questions arise for local residents regarding their insurance – will your home or agricultural policy give you the cover you need?

To download this information as a printable pdf,  please visit our flyers page.