Friday, October 2, 2009

A very bad idea

New York State has issued rules which potentially will allow drilling for natural gas in the New York City Catskill/Delaware Watershed area. This watershed covers a very large area upstate which contains waterways and aquifers which feed the city's water supply. Development in the watershed is regulated to prevent damage to the water supply. The potential risk to this supply from natural gas drilling, no matter how carefully this drilling is done, more than outweighs the benefits. Regulators who would allow such drilling clearly have no idea how great the value of the water supply is.

Here's how they should look at it. Natural gas drilling could provide the state a great deal of money in licensing fees and taxes. Without it, the state must continue to tighten its belt. On the other hand, without the water supply, the City of New York would cease to exist. If the current water supply is contaminated by the natural gas industry, it would need to be replaced with filtered water from another source, such as the Hudson River, at very great expense. This water would be of vastly lower quality. To pay for this lousy water, taxes and fees would need to be raised considerably. The city would literally never be the same.

These rules have not yet been approved. They first must go through a period of public comment before being either approved or disapproved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

read the following from the New York League of Conservation Voters: State Issues Proposed Rules For Upstate Gas Drilling

"The state's new rules for gas drilling upstate do not preclude drilling in watershed areas, as many environmental groups had hoped, but they do require energy companies to publicly disclose the chemicals they use.

"The Department of Environmental Conservation's Environmental Impact Statement addresses the range of potential impacts of shale gas development using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. It also outlines safety measures, protection standards and mitigation strategies that operators would have to follow to obtain permits to drill for gas.
Among these measures, the Elmira Star Gazette pointed out, is on-site inspection of certain drilling procedures and pre-emptive testing of the air and ground water.

"According to the New York Times, some geologists estimate that the Marcellus basin holds an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of gas, of which 50 trillion cubic feet could be recovered. That would be enough to meet the nation’s needs for about two years.

"The public comment period on the draft rules will be open until November 30. DEC will accept comments in writing, either via e-mail, regular mail, direct online submissions or delivered at public-information sessions. DEC soon will announce times and locations for a series of public-information sessions.
"These new rules are extremely important and will have a significant effect on New York's energy and water policies. NYLCV will be monitoring this process closely in the coming weeks."

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