Friday, July 01, 2011

The Week in Fracking...

Needless to say, it has been a monumental week for those following the hydrofracking saga taking place in New York. Below are some of the things I have been reading. If you have some links or thoughts of your own, please share.

It is official. The draft SGEIS is released in its entirely. Coming in at a meager 736 pages this will undoubtedly be must reading while celebrating Independence Day! Not to worry if you have other more pressing issues, Andy Leahy, @NYShaleGasNow, is on the case and will provide the abridged version on Monday. No wait, that has already been released....

  • In Reversal of 2009 Report, High-Volume Fracturing Would be Prohibited in NYC and Syracuse Watersheds
  • Drilling Banned Within All Primary Aquifers and on State-Owned Land Including State Forest and Wildlife Management Areas
  • Drilling Permitted on Other Private Land with Rigorous and Effective Protections
  • Advisory Panel on Implementation to Be Appointed

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) tomorrow will release its revised recommendations on mitigating the environmental impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (high-volume fracturing). The recommendations contain these major revisions:

  • High-volume fracturing would be prohibited in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, including a buffer zone;
  • Drilling would be prohibited within primary aquifers and within 500 feet of their boundaries;
  • Surface drilling would be prohibited on state-owned land including parks, forest areas and wildlife management areas;
  • High-volume fracturing will be permitted on privately held lands under rigorous and effective controls; and
  • DEC will issue regulations to codify these recommendations into state law.

Added, the DEC names those who will sit on the Hydrofracking Advisory Panel.

In case you didn't hear, Two-thirds of Americans want more domestic oil and gas production! This helps Governor Coumo's actions of late.

The national poll of likely voters found that 75 percent do not believe the country is sufficiently developing its own oil and gas resources, while 19 percent of those surveyed said the government is doing an adequate job of developing them.

Almost 50 percent of respondents also said that, given a choice, they would rather see the country develop its domestic reserves rather than cut back on gas and oil consumption. But the question was divided; another 42 percent said reducing consumption was the better policy.

How much is 5 million gallons?

The 5 million gallons of water needed to drill and fracture a typical deep shale gas well is equivalent to the amount of water consumed by:

  • New York City in approximately seven minutes
  • A 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant in 12 hours
  • A golf course in 25 days
  • 7.5 acres of corn in a season

While these represent continuing consumption, the water used for a gas well is a one-time use.

About radionuclides contaminating hydrofracking wastwater? Lancaster city water passes the test.

Tests show that Lancaster's drinking water contains no radioactivity from wastewater used in upstate Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

City officials last month ordered expanded testing of drinking water taken out of the Susquehanna River after it was revealed that some wastewater used by natural gas drillers was being taken to municipally owned sewage treatment plants, then released into waterways.

Plus there is this ~ Public water safe from radioactivity throughout region

A battery of tests has showed no radioactive contaminants in the water used and produced at 12 of 14 drinking water suppliers in Western Pennsylvania, according to state environmental regulators.

Wastewater treatment plants and drinking water suppliers performed extra tests throughout March, reacting to media reports that questioned whether an increase in Marcellus shale drilling had led to the introduction of radioactive chemicals into public water.

Of the 12 drinking water suppliers, only The Tri-County Joint Municipal Authority in Fredericktown reported any traces of radium-228 at all, and it was 80 percent below the maximum amount allowed, said Katy Gresh, spokeswoman at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Hold your horses: fracking in NYS is still under review

Rumors have been swirling today that New York is lifting its moratorium on new fracking in the Marcellus Shale. Here’s the reality: the de facto moratorium that has been in place since the summer of 2008 remains intact.

New York's fracking ban to be lifted

Could sanity be breaking out in the Empire State?

Added thoughts from same blog, different post, France, New York and Fracking. I have to add, how did a fellow living in the UK come to such a profound understanding of NYS political travails? Added emphasis is mine.

But, it now seems that New York State will offer the moderate wing all that they wished for, and that more importantly, the industry doesn't really have a problem with that. Full disclsoure? Without any hesitation. Recycled water? Why not? Fix the roads? Of course! Basically any objection can be met and hit on the head. Which will mean the anti shale ultras will be feeling even more mean. They will make a lot of noise: but they will be isolated. The battle in New York State is not left/right Democrat/Republican or green/oil, it is the age old split between upstate and New York City which has been going on for two hundred years already. The shale ultras will go and vote Green and get Republican and really shoot themselves in the foot.

Shale opponents believed their own narrative of the industry as inherently dirty, nasty, short-sighted and evil. Just as the reality of drilling escaped them, so too did the reality of gas and oil companies. The good/bad black/white narrative of evil gas and oil is not only simplistic, it's not even realistic. If any company had found a successful business plan based on poisoning the same people who use the product, I have yet to hear of one. Much of the shale opposition seems to have even less understanding of how a business operates than they do of geology, hydrology, chemistry or physics.

It has taken a day or so, but the gloves are starting to come off, Andrew Cuomo is Horrible. Looking through the comments, there seems to be dissension in the ranks.

Despite Andrew Cuomo’s admirable push for gay marriage, he is a horrible governor. As a “Democrat,” Cuomo has declared war on unions, on the environment, and on everything Democrats theoretically stand for, outside of gay marriage. And again, while his stance on that single issue is to his significant benefit, Cuomo is atrocious.

Cuomo has a clear vision–to be the ultimate centrist, thinking he can squeak through the 2016 presidential primary against other, presumably real Democrats who actually share the vision of the post-1933 Democratic Party and then triangulate himself into the presidency, where he will make us all long for the halcyon Clinton and Obama days, when a Democrat knew how to stand up to a Republican.

Except that I don’t think he can do it. I don’t think the bastard can withstand a Democratic primary, unless we let his single good and admirable position outweigh the fact that he doesn’t care about working-class people or the environment or essentially any other traditional Democratic issue. Certainly I would not vote for Andrew Cuomo for president, not in a primary and not in a general election.

Plus, Calls for Civil Disobedience?

"Citizens now have had an incredible wake-up call. And if they don't want horizontal hydrofracking in their communities, the only thing that they can do is make sure that the draft SGEIS is not adopted in final form," Hang said. "And I think you're going to be seeing civil disobedience, because I think people believed that this is going to be an honest, open process, that the governor was going to do what he said, which is to revise this document and provide good government. And I think it's like people feel they've been kicked in the teeth.

"This is a call to arms," Hang continued. "People really have to realize that the governor has not heard our message, he is not dealing with the substantive technical concerns, and we've got to make more noise."

And lets not forget civility, Fight like hell?

"A road map for the industrialization of the Catskills; the fact that the Delaware River isn't protected is outrageous," said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. "It's clear they haven't developed a plan to deal with wastewater and there's no cumulative impact study. We'll fight like hell to stop this."

Jon Entine delivers a complete take down of the NYT's Ian Urbina recent expose on hydrofracking with Natural Gas "Bubble" Report: Market Tinkering of Shoddy Reporting? Too much to highlight so read the whole thing, particularly if you don't mind seeing some of the shine taken off the "Newspaper of Record".

More on Ian Urbina. Is he the NYT's next Judith Miller? Of 10 sources for the Times articles 8 were anonymous. The two who were revealed turn out not to be the same people they were portrayed! Oops...

The Dallas Federal Reserve corrected the record, saying that Ms. Rogers is an unpaid volunteer on the small business and agriculture advisory council.

Instead the NYT Reporter presented her as an official in the Federal Reserve with an objective, investor protection concern.

The information about the Mr. Berman in the linked article is potentially even more damaging to the NYT Reporter, even edging into potential criminal stock manipulation.


  1. Looks like Gannett has pulled its link to Walter "Harangue" Hang's call for civil disobedience.

  2. Yes it has.....Will try to find another link....