January 3, 2012 —
ALBANY, NY — In comments submitted on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on gas drilling, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has urged the state to adopt his proposal to create a Natural Gas Damage Recovery Fund. DiNapoli first proposed the fund in August.
The industry-supported fund would cover and help remediate damages caused by natural gas production, including high-volume hydraulic fracturing. It is modeled after New York’s Oil Spill Fund. “DEC’s revised environmental impact statement and regulations still fall short of addressing how the state would pay for clean-up costs and hold parties that caused the contamination responsible,” DiNapoli wrote.
In his comments, DiNapoli also presented his concerns about potential negative economic impacts of the development of shale deposits, including limitations on future land uses and sales due to the placement of gas wells. Because a large number of state residents rely on groundwater, DiNapoli called on the DEC to examine whether smaller hydraulic fracturing projects could pose a threat to sensitive resources and urged it to evaluate whether groundwater moving through aquifers contaminated by gas production could pose a threat to water quality in areas where high-volume hydraulic fracturing is banned.