Gas Drilling in New York State

REGULATIONS FOR GAS DRILLING IN NEW YORK STATE “WOEFULLY INADEQUATE”Supplemental Regulations Are Vague and DEC Understaffed To Monitor Expected Drilling BoomToday the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA) sent a 24-page response to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as input on its proposed Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program. The SLPWA response is highly critical of the document and implies that it does less to protect the environment and our communities than to facilitate its exploitation for the natural gas. SLPWA says the 800+ page DEC draft is complex and vague in its regulatory requirements and leaves much to the discretion of regulators whose number is far from adequate to monitor and control the expected boom in drilling across New York State once the moratorium on drilling is lifted. Based on the experience with this new drilling technology on the environmental problems in other states, SLPWA is asking the DEC, the Governor and Legislators to redraft proper regulations for the better control and oversight of this exploitation.The SLPWA response details specific concerns in areas of water sourcing; air-, water- and noise pollution; waste water handling and the impact this drilling will have on the infrastructure and financial responsibilities of local communities. SLPWA urges the DEC to clearly specify tighter regulations in each of these areas to protect local environments and municipalities.An overriding issue beyond New York State is the exemption that the oil and gas industry enjoys from seven major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment. In the absence of Congressional action to correct these dangers to individual health and our environment in New York State, the DEC needs to provide tighter controls at the state level.SLPWA supports environmentally and fiscally responsible drilling for natural gas. SLPWA opposes drilling for natural gas under the vague guidelines and monitoring described in NYS DEC’s dSGEIS. New York State DEC and Federal EPA regulations must assure the safety of the process to our water, air and communities. Regulations must be monitored and enforced to this end. Further, the State must insure that local and regional costs to the municipalities resulting from this drilling are fully compensated through necessary fees and taxes. This is not the situation today. The moratorium on drilling should continue until such laws and regulations are in place and supported by the general public.The SLPWA response to DEC has been sent to Governor Patterson as well as both State and Federal legislators.SLPWA is an organization of over 250 property owners and residents in the Seneca Lake watershed formed in 1991 to promote the understanding, preservation and improvement of the water quality, natural habitat and general environmental conditions of Seneca Lake and its watershed. The association’s website at http://www.senecalake.org/ has current information regarding its activities.

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