GREAT NEWS!!!!!!

November 30, 2010

New York State Assembly Passes a Moratorium Bill!

Paterson Expected to Sign It!

In an historic vote, the New York State Assembly enacted a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing which will remain in effect until May 15, 2011. The bill, A11443B/S08129B was approved by the Senate last summer and is now on its way to Governor Paterson, who is expected to sign it into law.

The de facto moratorium that has been in effect for the past two years can be attributed to Governor Paterson because he ordered the NYS DEC to prepare a new environmental impact statement to set standards for issuing permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing and the DEC has yet to finalize its work. By signing this bill, Governor Paterson will cement his reputation as the first Governor in the country to protect his citizens from the precipitous onslaught of dangerous and poorly regulated shale gas extraction.

The vote in the Assembly caps an incredible two weeks for those of us who have been working hard to combat the corporations that intend to turn our communities into sacrificial energy zones.

Pushback!

On November 17th, the Broome County legislature rejected, for the second time, a plan to lease county lands for drilling. The 10-3 vote was an embarrassing setback for County Executive Barbara Fiala, who has recklessly been pushing fracking since landsmen first showed up in the county.
On the same day, Pittsburgh became the first city in the nation to ban drilling outright. Residents of that city already have had a taste of fracking – literally. Beginning in 2008 the city’s drinking water began turning smelly and brown after huge quantities of drilling wastewater were dumped into the Monongahela River, which supplies the city.

The day after Thanksgiving, Governor Paterson acknowledged the role ordinary citizens have played in defeating dangerous drilling saying “This is a very good example of public participation. Our DEC…originally ruled that hydrofracking would not affect the water quality in the area, but we’ve received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea… We’re not going to risk public safety or water quality… At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time.”

Mother Nature lends a hand

On November 18th drilling giant EnCana announced that it was pulling out of Luzerne County, PA because its exploratory wells indicated that “wells were unlikely to produce natural gas in commercial quantities.” Is this the beginning of the unraveling of the much ballyhooed Marcellus Shale play, as predicted by Arthur Berman? Only time will tell…

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