October 02, 2009
New York's state moratorium on natural gas drilling may soon be lifted, now that the the state environmental agency has finished an environmental impact statement.
Upstate New York sits over the Marcellus Shale, a gigantic shale gas field that is similar to the Barnett Shale.
Pro-Publica, the non-profit investigative reporting group, reports that the state may allow drilling in New York City's watershed: http://www.propublica.org/feature/new-york-state-paves-way-for-gas-drilling-with-release-of-review-930
There are some stipulations, though, according to Pro Public:
-- Operators must disclose all the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, including their concentrations
-- Operators must complete a checlist and certification form before any well can be hydraulically fractured
-- Residential drinking water wells near drilling sites must be tested for contaminants priot to drilling, to establish baseline information in case an accident occurs
-- Some waste pits, which have been responsible for water contamination in other parts of the country, will be prohibited in the New York City watershed, and limited in other parts of the state. Drillers will be required to store their waste in steel tanks in some cases.
A report by Pro Publica in 2008 -- which said the state wasn't ready to cope with water use, waste disposal and other downsides of gas drilling -- convinced the state to impose a moratorium on gas drilling.
Many of the same companies that developed the Barnett Shale are operating in the Marcellus Shale, including XTO, Chesapeake Energy, Devon and Range Resources.
Here's a link to the full report from the state:
-- Mike Lee