Monday, August 9, 2010

HYDRO-FRACKING UPDATE

from the [Green] Capitol Insider, Environmental Advocates of New York’s online newsletter from the State Capital - August 9, 2010

STATE SENATE CALLS FOR A "TIMEOUT" ON FRACKING

At long last, everyone who cares about New York’s drinking water has something to celebrate.

It was way past our usual bedtime last week when the New York State Senate voted to protect New York’s drinking water by passing legislation that will enact a one-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” for natural gas.

By passing the bill, S.8129B, sponsored by Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo), the Senate put New Yorkers and our natural resources ahead of the oil and gas industry and their big bags of money (click here for details from Common Cause/NY ). Because in states such as Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wyoming where the gas industry routinely uses hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas, drinking and groundwater sources have been contaminated.

The bill passed by a comfortable and bipartisan margin of 49 to 9.

The legislation will suspend the issuance of permits to hydraulically fracture wells in New York State until May 15, 2011. This “timeout” will give the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation time to finish its review of hydraulic fracturing without political pressure. It will also give our next governor the chance to look at the issue with a critical eye.

All eyes are now on the Assembly and we encourage these lawmakers to take up identical legislation, A.11443B, sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), when the house returns to Albany in the weeks ahead.

And then, of course, the bill goes to Governor Paterson’s desk.


HAVE YOUR SAY AT EPA HEARING ON FRACKING

We encourage you to attend the EPA’s only New York hearing on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” this Thursday in Binghamton. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting four public information meetings on the agency’s study of hydraulic fracturing and its potential impacts on drinking water. The meetings will also provide public information about the proposed study scope and design and the EPA will solicit public comments on its draft study plan.

Location: TBD, Binghamton, NY. Date & Time: August 12, 2010; three sessions: 8am to 12pm, 1 to 5pm, and 6 to 10pm. For more information or to pre-register, visit http://www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/wells_hydrofrac.html.

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