April 21, 2012

"Supportive communities" to get fracked first?

I hadn't realized it was possible for the DEC to do this, but apparently there's discussion of allowing hydrofracking in places "that want it". (You can also see that article in Binghamton, where it doesn't repeat every paragraph.)

In particular, I'm surprised to see Binghamton State Senator Thomas Libous, who I'd seen as the strongest supporter of the gas companies drilling everywhere, saying:

"I believe [DEC is] going to look at areas of the state where there is Marcellus Shale, where there is potential for drilling in areas of the state that are going to be open to it," said Libous, the Senate deputy majority leader. "It just doesn't make sense for them to do it elsewhere, and I think there are enough areas of the state that would be open to it."

Nothing seems especially clear, but I'd suggest it's a sign that the DEC may be heading to the kind of compromise I'd suggested would fit the legislature.

How would this work? Details aren't clear, but the seed of an approach is already in the draft SGEIS:

DEC already signaled that it would allow some local involvement in the permitting process. A draft version of the agency's hydrofracking review lets municipalities "raise a flag with DEC" if a permit application doesn't follow its local land and zoning laws, DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis wrote in an email.

"If high-volume hydraulic fracturing moves forward in New York, local governments will get advance notice of all applications and can comment on compatibility of such application with local land use laws and policies," DeSantis wrote. "DEC will consider this in its review of the permit application and can deny or condition a permit based on this information if it deems such action is appropriate based on the impacts."

That does still leave everything up to DEC and the executive branch, however. If New York takes this route, I'd we'd see the courts, legislature, and DEC settle on something more stable.

Posted by simon at April 21, 2012 7:39 AM in ,
Note on photos