NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver posted the following message on his website on June 7: "I have good news: The Assembly has passed a bill that would protect New York’s drinking water by prohibiting the issuance of new permits for the controversial gas drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing for another year.
"Now, we need the Senate to pass this critical legislation so we can send it to the Governor for his signature. The bill (A.7400) we passed today would extend a moratorium on “hydrofracking” until June 1, 2012, while both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study the safety of this drilling process.
"Protecting our environment is at the top of my agenda in Albany and it is essential that we make sure our water is not polluted by the toxic chemicals that are often used for hydrofracking. I remain committed to giving our children a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable world and I will continue to update you on the progress we make in protecting our water."
Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY files memorandum in opposition to the law:
IOGA said the law is is identical to a measure vetoed by Governor Paterson in 2010, and then quoted Paterson after the veto:
“Enacting this legislation, in essence, would put people out of work that results in no demonstrated environmental harm and is not even under DEC review, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic.
"Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act.”
"This bill would amend unconsolidated law to establish a one year moratorium on issuing permits for horizontal drilling when hydraulic fracturing will be used."
IOGA of NY believes that this legislation is unwarranted, and ill-conceived. The EPA has already concluded on more than one occasion that hydraulic fracturing – a 60-year-old technology – is safe. What’s more, thousands of wells have already been hydraulically fractured in New York over the past 60 years without a single case of water contamination.
At the outset, it is critical to understand that the bill is technically flawed. As drafted, A 7400 would:
• Bar existing safe drilling that has been going on for decades in New York.
• Cause the loss of jobs in New York (4,500 directly and thousands more indirectly)- existing gas producing companies would go out of business and existing employees will be out of
work—more jobs lost in the Southern Tier of New York.
• This legislation was vetoed in 2010 because of the adverse effect this legislation would have on the economy, real property taxes, and its obsolescence.
The bill’s provisions prohibit all drilling permits, in any gas formation, where hydraulic fracturing is used. More than 90% of the hundreds of new wells permitted in New York State each year in formations other than Marcellus and Utica are developed using hydraulic fracturing (DEC permits issued: 670 wells in 2008 and 580 in 2009).