Report Says New York Set to Allow Fracking After Labor Day

Environmental regulators in New York are set to allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas in the state and guidelines for drilling should be available just after Labor Day.

According to a CBS News report, the decision is being met with the same skeptical optimism that it’s faced across the country, with some people facing dilemmas in which they stand to gain financially while others worry their natural resources and normal way of life are about to face grave threats.

New York has been a holdout in the fracking debate. Former Gov. David Patterson had enacted a moratorium on fracking drilling while he was in office. That moratorium extended into the current term of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who promised to lift that act once state environmental regulators concluded a full safety review of the fracking process. With that nearly complete, the state appears set to allow fracking drilling, at least on a limited basis, on private lands, permitting landowners to lease their land to drilling companies who will set up wells on their property.

Fracking drilling employs the use of fresh water, sand, a drill, and a mix of more than 500 chemicals which are injected into the ground through a long horizontal well until they reach a shale formation about two miles below the surface. Once the rock is fractured, it releases natural gas deposits that are rushed back to the surface.

New York sits atop several shale formations, mostly the Marcellus shale bed, a massive, multi-state expanse of rock across the Mid Atlantic region once believed to contain more than $3 trillion in natural gas reserves. Those estimates have since been scaled back, as have other beliefs on the benefits to allowing drilling.

Critics of the fracking process believe the drilling and extraction process contaminates groundwater and underground water aquifers, thus contaminating the fresh water supply in an immediate and more widespread area. Until now, environmental advocates have successfully launched campaigns at delaying fracking in New York, making up for their losses in Pennsylvania, where drilling occurs daily almost unchecked from state regulators. The boom there has created a wealth of problems along with an abundant supply of natural gas.

New Yorkers are worried that allowing fracking drilling in the state will create the same problems being faced in Pennsylvania: residents blaming the drilling for contaminating their drinking water supply and polluting the air, putting a strain on natural resources and local infrastructure, along with the false promise of abundant jobs and a renewed local economy.

Some private landowners told CBS News they welcome the introduction of fracking to the state, believing their ability to lease farmland, for example, could provide a necessary investment that could save their farms. Pennsylvanians have banked $2 billion this year in fracking land leases, allowing drilling companies to create well sites and extract the gas in the shale formations below the surface.

New York’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation has promised to enact the strictest standards for any proposed fracking drilling and some areas of the state have been labeled as off-limits to any drilling. To combat expected passage at the state level, about a dozen local municipalities in New York have passed their own bans on drilling, all which have stood up to at least one court challenge from the fracking industry.

Environmental regulators in New York are set to allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas in the state and guidelines for drilling should be available just after Labor Day.

According to a CBS News report, the decision is being met with the same skeptical optimism that it’s faced across the country, with some people facing dilemmas in which they stand to gain financially while others worry their natural resources and normal way of life are about to face grave threats.

New York has been a holdout in the fracking debate. Former Gov. David Patterson had enacted a moratorium on fracking drilling while he was in office. That moratorium extended into the current term of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who promised to lift that act once state environmental regulators concluded a full safety review of the fracking process. With that nearly complete, the state appears set to allow fracking drilling, at least on a limited basis, on private lands, permitting landowners to lease their land to drilling companies who will set up wells on their property.

Fracking drilling employs the use of fresh water, sand, a drill, and a mix of more than 500 chemicals which are injected into the ground through a long horizontal well until they reach a shale formation about two miles below the surface. Once the rock is fractured, it releases natural gas deposits that are rushed back to the surface.

New York sits atop several shale formations, mostly the Marcellus shale bed, a massive, multi-state expanse of rock across the Mid Atlantic region once believed to contain more than $3 trillion in natural gas reserves. Those estimates have since been scaled back, as have other beliefs on the benefits to allowing drilling.

Critics of the fracking process believe the drilling and extraction process contaminates groundwater and underground water aquifers, thus contaminating the fresh water supply in an immediate and more widespread area. Until now, environmental advocates have successfully launched campaigns at delaying fracking in New York, making up for their losses in Pennsylvania, where drilling occurs daily almost unchecked from state regulators. The boom there has created a wealth of problems along with an abundant supply of natural gas.

New Yorkers are worried that allowing fracking drilling in the state will create the same problems being faced in Pennsylvania: residents blaming the drilling for contaminating their drinking water supply and polluting the air, putting a strain on natural resources and local infrastructure, along with the false promise of abundant jobs and a renewed local economy.

Some private landowners told CBS News they welcome the introduction of fracking to the state, believing their ability to lease farmland, for example, could provide a necessary investment that could save their farms. Pennsylvanians have banked $2 billion this year in fracking land leases, allowing drilling companies to create well sites and extract the gas in the shale formations below the surface.

New York’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation has promised to enact the strictest standards for any proposed fracking drilling and some areas of the state have been labeled as off-limits to any drilling. To combat expected passage at the state level, about a dozen local municipalities in New York have passed their own bans on drilling, all which have stood up to at least one court challenge from the fracking industry.

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