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Shale gas drillers suffer setback in New York state

Oilfield Technology,

The new legislation effectively requires companies carrying out hydraulic fracture drilling to acquire licenses on an individual basis. However, the legislation does not apply outside of the defined areas near the city limits of Syracuse and New York.

The reason this legislation has been brought in is because of fears that hydraulic fracture drilling may pollute groundwater and run off. The technology is relatively new and the environmental consequences are unclear. However, fears about the potential risks of pollution from the chemicals used to break up the shale formations, was enough to get the legislation through. This is largely because drilling was taking place in areas that provide drinking water for the two cities, understandably making it a touchy subject.

New York and Syracuse’s freshwater supplies come unfiltered from a 5200 km2 watershed in the Catskils mountains north of the city, the legislation amounts to a de facto ban in this area.

“While it falls short of a an outright ban, DEC’s decision to segregate the permitting process for the NYC and Syracuse watersheds is a strong step in the right direction for the nearly 10 million New York state residents who depend on these unfiltered systems for their drinking water” said Riverkeeper President Alex Matthiesen.

However, Brad Gill, the President of Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York was less thrilled about the news, “It will do irreversible fiscal harm to the local communities that would benefit from tax revenues through drilling, and it will harm landowners who want nothing more than to safely develop land in a way that’s in the best interest of their families and future generations.”

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