Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Important Statement From JLCNY
STATEMENT CLARIFYING JLCNY INTERPRETION OF THE POTENTIAL FINAL SGEIS & PLAN FOR PERMITTING As you may know, the Cuomo Administration signaled its support for a natural gas development plan that would allow gas drilling to begin in a handful of New York counties in the Southern Tier. The announcement, which was first described in broad strokes by a published report in The New York Times (“Cuomo Proposal Would Restrict Gas Drilling to a Struggling Area,” 6/13/12), is an encouraging development for landowners who believe drilling provides a pathway to clean economic growth. People in New York State need to see development activity safely underway before reasonably extending it to other regions. Since the announcement contained some ambiguity, it also produced uncertainty and confusion over exactly what this plan means for future natural gas production in New York State. Ultimately only the Governor can provide additional clarity around his proposal; however, as far as the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) is concerned, we believe the Governor’s announcement makes clear that development is coming. More specifically, we believe: The state, not local communities, will remain in control of setting standards for development. As we’ve said in the past, and that has been reinforced in many local government resolutions, municipalities lack the expertise and resources to conduct the comprehensive regulatory supervision that natural gas development requires. Only the state, and specifically, the Department of Environmental Conservation, has the adequate know‐how to oversee natural gas production. We remain confident that the Governor will authorize responsible state led regulation and permitting of natural gas development. The authority of local bans and moratoria will be determined by the judicial branch. Local bans or moratoria will hold no power over the state’s permitting decisions, unless the courts grant communities that right. The DEC will treat all permits equally, and in accordance with the law. While the Governor’s Administration may focus initial permitting to those areas that have vocalized support for clear state led safeguards, it does not mean state agencies will prohibit permitting where the law and its guidelines allow mineral resource development. The JLCNY is hopeful that the polarized debate over natural gas development is finally being dictated by facts and moving toward clear definitive action – rather than prolonged inaction – by the state. It’s very clear to us that momentum at the local level is shifting in favor of development, as more and more local municipalities pass resolutions in support of state control over gas drilling. And it’s very clear to us that the Governor has taken note and is taking steps to bring responsible energy and related job development to upstate New York. The 70,000 members of the JLCNY remain committed to responsible natural gas development in New York, and we are confident that the State of New York under Governor Cuomo’s leadership is moving toward implementing guidelines under the fundamentals outlined above.