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.

Fracking debate at Stormont

On Tuesday 6th December, the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont will be debating the following motion:

“That this Assembly believes a moratorium should be placed on onshore and offshore exploration development and production of shale gas by withdrawing licences for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), at least until the publication of a detailed environmental impact assessment into the practice; notes that hydraulic fracturing can put local water sources at risk of contamination, further notes that amongst a variety of adverse environmental impacts, the process of fracking can cause serious well blowouts, which put both workers and local communities at risk; does not consider that the production of hard to reach fossil fuels is compatible with efforts to achieve carbon reduction targets and, therefore, urges the Enterprise Minister to instead give greater support to the generation of energy from renewable sources.”

Immediately prior to the debate, the petition to ban fracking in Northern Ireland will be presented to the Assembly, so if you would like to sign it and have not yet done so, please sign by Monday 5th.

There will be a show of support by members of the public outside the Stormont buildings at 10am on Tuesday 6th – please come along if you can.  Transport from Fermanagh is being arranged – if you would like further details of this, please email us at [email protected] as soon as possible.