New York DEC Recommends Pacing Drilling Development

by Dee Fulton on September 9, 2011

The final draft of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s report reviewed both environmental impacts and socioeconomic impacts of Marcellus shale industrial development on towns and rural communities.  The mammoth report (over 1500 pages) projected that at its height, natural gas production could employ 25,000 workers and support 29,000 jobs indirectly.  But the report cautioned that the industry development may be so intensive that many stresses will come to to bear upon communities.  To counter that and pace out development, the report recommended that well permits include time limits on construction to relieve pressure on schools, roads, and public services.

Per a Bloomberg news report, the DEC report states, “Where appropriate, the department would impose specific construction windows within well construction permits in order to ensure that drilling activity and its cumulative adverse socioeconomic effects are not unduly concentrated in a specific geographical area.”

A NGI Shale Daily headline states that the oil and gas industry is largely supportive of the DEC’s final draft report on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

The public comment period was extended from 60 days to 90 days.  Some environment/public health groups sought an 180 day comment period.

Ken Ward Jr. observed in the Gazette blog, Sustained Outrage, “Of course, New York has something called State Environmental Quality Review, which requires the sponsoring or approving governmental body to identify and mitigate the significant environmental impacts of the activity it is proposing or permitting. West Virginia environmental groups have long called for passage of such a law here, but the Legislature has never thought that weighing the costs and benefits of things like coal mining or natural gas drilling was worthwhile.”

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