NY Review of Marcellus Hits Snags Submitted by taschutt on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 9:58am Late summer wrap-up projected for DEC plan By Jon Campbell •Albany Bureau • April 15, 2010, 7:00 pm ALBANY -- The…

NY Review of Marcellus Hits Snags
Submitted by taschutt on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 9:58am Late summer wrap-up projected for DEC plan

By Jon Campbell •Albany Bureau • April 15,
2010, 7:00 pm

ALBANY -- The review of a draft plan for natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale is being slowed by a staff shortage and may not be finished until late summer or early fall, the state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner said Thursday.

Speaking after giving the opening remarks at an environmental conference hosted by the state Business Council, Commissioner Alexander "Pete" Grannis said workers in his agency were in the process of reviewing and responding to 13,500 comments from the general public on the draft, which must be finalized before permits to drill are granted.

"As with every agency, we are understaffed," Grannis said. "Men and women at the DEC are putting in collectively about 50 hours a day, all told, in going through the comments and writing up the responses. I guess if you had to pick a time, I think late summer, early fall we'll be nearing the end of the review process."

After the plan is finalized, all of the 58 pending permits would then have to be amended to reflect the final version, Grannis said.

DEC Director of Mineral Resources Bradley Field addressed the conference, saying the entire process, including the issuance of permits, would be finished in 2010. He declined further comment following the conference.

Gov. David Paterson signed a bill in July 2008 that allowed for an easier permitting process to drill in the state, but not before the completion of an environmental review and impact plan.

Environmental and natural gas groups have been at odds over the use of hydraulic fracturing, or hydro-fracking, to help extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, which stretches across much of the state's Southern Tier and into portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Some advocacy groups worry that hydro-fracking, which is the use of a mixture of water and chemicals to help break up rock structures and make the gas more accessible, could taint the water supply, while others cite the potential for revenue and say the process is safe.

Katharine Nadeau, a project manager for Environmental Advocates/NY, said the DEC's first draft didn't do enough to limit chemicals and protect the state's groundwater. She called on the department to issue a second draft for public comment.

"The first draft just fell so short, and there is so much public interest," Nadeau said. "(The DEC) needs to come out with another draft with public comment so it is a fully transparent process."

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York on Thursday called on the state to expedite the process. The state could bring in $200 million during the current fiscal year by allowing for the leasing of Marcellus Shale land and collecting royalties, according to the group.

"Our industry wants to expand in New York and, unlike other industries and corporations, we are not looking for handouts from the state," said Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association.

Susan Lerner, Common Cause/NY executive director, criticized the association's proposal, calling it a "stop-gap measure" that doesn't take the possible environmental impact into account.

The DEC is not on a hard deadline, and Paterson is giving the department as much time as it needs to finish the plan, Grannis said.

"We're under no pressure from the governor and we are certainly not putting any pressure on the professional staff other than to do the best job possible, as quickly as possible," he said.

"This process will not be short-circuited to meet some deadline. We're working as quickly as we can with the resources we have," he added.

Views: 51


You need to be a member of GoMarcellusShale.com to add comments!

Join GoMarcellusShale.com

Comment by Jean Michel LeTennier on April 20, 2010 at 5:29pm
IT's BS the DEC was on track for June/July release according to friends, but were told to take more time.. and wait until the Elections...
NYC hopes to win influencing the Governors position through electoral and media blitz as well as lobbying.

© 2024   Created by Keith Mauck (Site Publisher).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service