Wednesday, September 28, 2011
A few comments on the forum that Congressman Tom Reed sponsored on “Marcellus Shale Drilling in New York: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks?” At the Corning Library on Sept. 27. First, SCLOC-Steuben County Land Owner Coalition, thanks Congressman Tom Reed, Congressman Glen “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania, Eugene Leff- Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, John Holko-President ,Lenape Resources ,Inc, Energy in Depth and all the coalition members who were at the forum for their support for gas drilling in New York. The anti drilling minority was there with misinformation and emotion as usual. The residents of New York who still have misgivings about the benefits outweighing the risks of drilling in the Marcellus Shale, should know these facts. The “State Environmental Quality Review Act”(SEQR) stated to protect the mineral rights of its citizens and to develop the natural gas in the Marcellus shale for the economic benefit of the state and nation. DEC was mandated by this act to develop environmental study and regulations that would enable the gas & oil industry to harvest this natural resource in a environmentally safe way. This is what SGEIS is (Supplement Generic Environmental Impact Statement). After millions of dollars of tax payer money and years of study by thousands of experts it is time to start drilling! Neil
Friday, September 23, 2011
Notes on the monthly meeting of the Political Action Committee 9/19/11. The first item of discussion was the creation of a brief report for the blog site of each month's meeting. The chairman discussed the idea that the overall situation is good for the landowners. Now that SGEIS is released we can only wait for the end of the 90 day comment period. For some of us a very serious effort must be made to not let the silly comments made by the anti's, the media, and some politicians, "get" to us. There is every reason to believe, at least right now, that Governor Cuomo sincerely wants this for New York - not to mention for his "legacy". The chairman, backed up by Ken Knowles, discussed our loss of one of the most interested groups in buying our leases. This party, after negotiating for months, and showing real interest in Steuben County, simply walked away. To make a long story short - they went to a state where they could start drilling now! These kinds of losses are devastating to most of us, but bear in mind that there are still other groups that are very interested in Steuben County leases. Another area of discusion was the increasing interest in the Utica Shale. Our County is very strong on the Utica. In fact we are much stronger in the Utica in terms of covering the entire county than in Marcellus. Other topics that were discussed more briefly included: - Rita Peters brought up Fracking with Propane - Elaine Swiler pointed out the possibility of much larger areas of coverage from a single well pad. ( Including up to 18 spokes off a single vertical drill with laterals out to 10,000 feet.) - attendance by some of our PAC members at the recent Southern Tier Economic Forum. ( when the meeting started with the statement that there would be No discussion of Marcellus , our people left!) - Tom Reed's town meeting was attended by Gordon Foster - there was no discussion of Marcellus. - Elaine brought up Tom Reed's speaking at the Gas Innovation meeting in Philadelphia. Congressman Reed is very much in our camp on this! - We will have representation at the Corning City Republican Party dinner in October. - Bill Lock pointed out the many pro-natural gas commercials appearing on TV recently. These are a very big help to our cause! - We had our monthly discussion on the Corning Leader with general agreement that while certainly not objective, it has improved on the editorial page. Some of our letters are getting published again. - Elaine brought up the South African company SASOL, which is investing $10billion in Louisiana on a plant to convert natural gas to diesel fuel. (Even the N.Y. Times covered this.) - Kenny reported on an energy company in Pa. that tests all water wells within a 5 mile radius before they start to drill. They find that up to 85% of existing water wells in that area have methane in them! They also find that a very large % are not putting out "safe" drinking water. Earlier Penn State studies showed more or less the same thing. Both conditions exist before any drilling! This kind of a policy applied in Dimock in 2008 probably would have saved us a lot of grief! - Mary Hickey reported on adding links on the SCLOC website for Yates, Schuyler, Chemung, and Allegheny Counties. These are to provide any help we can to those counties. All of us on the PAC would like all of our landowners to rest assured that we are still doing everything we can to protect all our interests on this issue. The chairman extends a special thank you to Linda Knowles for her fine minutes which were used as an outline for this report.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
To the Editor: The recent letter titled "How many local jobs ?" deserves a response. On that specific question the answer is well documented - at least in Pa. The industry says it has hired 74% local workers, but the Federal Department of Labor says it has "only" hired 71%. The 25,000 jobs created by drilling, based on what has happened in Pa. seems extremely low - unless that is DEC's estimate for just the first year. The implication that drilling will wipe out the 600,000 "visitor sustained" jobs is ridiculous under any objective criteria. The visitors will keep coming because the water will be fine ( there has never been a verified case of hydrofracing causing any water problems), the land will not be cleared for drill sites ( a two to three acre pad can now cover 640 to 1280 acres), and the air is not full of nitrogen oxide anywhere ( including Wyoming) as a result of drilling for gas. There will be an increase in truck traffic on some roads ( which can be controlled), and while this is the only valid concern in the letter, it has not been enough of a problem in any of the fourteen states that are already using horizontal hydrofracing to stop that process. The realistic conclusion on this issue is simply that the benefits outweigh the risks. Fourteen states have realized this - one has not! Jeff Heller Bradford
Friday, September 9, 2011
Doors will open to fracking in N.Y. THE ISSUE | Hydraulic fracturing in New York state. OUR OPINION | It’s only a matter of time before drilling begins. U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, put out the welcome mat to natural gas drillers Wednesday, urging them to come to New York. “New York is going to be open, it’s going to be open soon,” Reed said. He’s right. Like it or not, high-volume, hydraulic fracturing natural gas drilling will be legal in New York. Reed made the statement during a panel discussion held at natural gas drilling conference in Philadelphia. His remarks came the same day the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued its long-awaited economic and enviro mental report on hydraulic fracturing, the process used to mine the natural-gas rich Marcellus Shale. Drillers use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to tap into natural gas fields by injecting wells with millions of gallons of chemically-treated water and sand. This process breaks up the shale and releases the gas. The process is controversial, with opponents citing air and water contamination and illnesses as a result of fracking. Recent methane contamination in Pennsylvania, which allows drilling, has added fuel to the fire. There are nearly 4,000 wells in Pennsylvania, and more are on the way. Those who support mining the Marcellus say the industry will bring thousands of jobs, cut U.S. dependency on foreign oil, decrease electric bills and benefit the landowners leasing the land to drillers. We believe it’s the lure of more jobs and an improved economy that will eventually open New York’s doors to drilling. In fact, the DEC report touts the number of jobs – as many as 55,000 – that could come from the industry. A consultant hired by the DEC found that as many as 25,000 full-time jobs and more than 29,000 jobs in other parts of the economy could be created. Even without drilling, New York is already reaping the rewards of fracking. The Marcellus Shale extends from southern New York through Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Although the state does not allow permits to be issued, other fracking-related businesses have found their way to New York. Locally, Schlumberger supplies materials and technical services to the natural gas drilling industry, employing hundreds at its new facility in The Center in Horseheads. In Steuben County, the Legislature is expected to follow Chemung County’s lead in accepting drill cuttings at its landfill to boost revenue. Cuttings are rocks and debris removed to install drill casings into the Marcellus Shale. DEC approval is still needed before Steuben can accept the cuttings. Already, drillers working in Pennsylvania are staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants and shopping at our stores. The Town of Erwin earns about $500,000 annually selling its water to drilling companies. Painted Post officials are working on a deal to sell water. The village could make an estimated $2.6 million annually in water sales, officials say. Meanwhile, officials in the city of Corning are watching the deal closely as they consider tapping its water supply. None of the projects are without controversy. Contamination and road damage caused by heavy truck traffic are just some of the issues raised by protesters attending meetings. Others fear selling water to drilling companies could harm local residents during a drought. An LPG storage facility proposed by Inergy near Seneca Lake is receiving the strongest opposition. A grassroots campaign drew thousands to a concert held last weekend to fight hydrofracking and the proposed facility. Whether the storage facility is approved by the DEC and Town of Reading officials remains to be seen. However, it’s only a matter of time before fracking is allowed in New York state. The DEC said no permits will be issued until the study is finalized, likely in 2012. A public comment period on the environmental study is open until December. A comment period on regulations will begin in early October. There is still much work to be done before drilling can begin. In its report Wednesday, the DEC issued guidelines to protect the environment, human health and communities from potential harm. In October, the agency will propose regulations. However, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens all but gave his support, saying the state’s priority is to protect drinking water and the environment while allowing drilling to proceed. “This (report) will allow New York’s economy to benefit from this resource and the job opportunities that development is expected to bring,” he said Wednesday. In previous editorials, The Leader has urged caution and backed a moratorium on drilling until the DEC’s studies were complete and regulations created. We still urge caution and eagerly await the DEC regulations. And we don’t want those who oppose fracking to throw in the towel. Their protests have brought needed awareness to problems with the procedure and most certainly have helped pave the way to tougher restrictions. We do not want to discourage anyone from commenting during the public commenting period. You can do so by visiting http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html. However, we don’t believe opponents will be successful in their drive to prevent fracking in New York. When it’s all said and done, it’s still about the economy.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Irene pushes DEC’s hydrofracking report back Posted by: Jon Campbell - Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 31, 2011 A 1,000-plus page draft of a report on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has been pushed back because of Tropical Storm Irene, according to a Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman. The report, which DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said was slated to be released today, will now be unveiled at some point next week, with a public comment period to follow. “DEC continues to be focused on hurricane response and recovery,” DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said in an e-mail. “Therefore, we will release the revised draft SGEIS next week.” The review is called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), and will provide the framework for the DEC’s high-volume hydrofracking permit process, which hasn’t been permitted in New York since the review was started in July 2008. The technique is used with gas drilling to send a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to break up shale formations—like the Marcellus Shale—and release natural gas. Most of the DEC’s draft was released in July, but the department said it would install a new chapter on the socioeconomic and community impacts of gas drilling before officially releasing it for public comment. The department had originally set the comment period at 60 days, but said a final decision on the length as well as whether to host public hearings would be announced when the document is released.