Pro-Industry Interests Dominate N.C. Commission Writing Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

Shale Gas, North Carolina

Two of 15 members of a panel set up to write the regulations for hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina have potential conflicts of interest, according to disclosure forms and land records. Both members were assigned to seats that were supposed to go to environmentalists. And the chairman of the state Mining and Energy Commission says he intends to move swiftly to draft regulations and likens the risks of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to the chances of getting hit in the head with a meteorite.

All of this has environmentalists wondering how impartial the panel will be.

“We were well aware that most of these appointees…were folks that were pro-fracking,” Hope Taylor, executive director of Clean Water for North Carolina says. “Many of them have been overtly, outspokenly pro-drilling.” Continue reading Pro-Industry Interests Dominate N.C. Commission Writing Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sidesteps Natural Gas Hydrofracking Controversies

ALBANY, N.Y. — Ignoring taunts from anti-hydrofracking protestors marching outside, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered a nearly hour-long State of the State address to lawmakers Jan. 4 without mentioning the hot-button gas drilling technique.

In his speech, the governor skipped over a section of his prepared remarks that had promised to deliver in 2012 both the state’s final rules for new gas well permits and recommendations from his own gas drilling advisory panel.

Asked about the omission, Cuomo spokesman Matt Wing said of his boss’ hydrofracking policy: “We are still waiting for the facts … We base everything on facts.”

Continue reading N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sidesteps Natural Gas Hydrofracking Controversies

Dryden and Middlefield Fracking Bans Tested

DRYDEN, N.Y. — Landslide elections here and in the neighboring town of Caroline Nov. 8 put to rest any doubts that hydrofracking opponents have the upper hand politically in this Finger Lakes community.

But those lopsided victories will ring hollow unless the Town of Dryden prevails in court against Anschutz Exploration Corp.

Continue reading Dryden and Middlefield Fracking Bans Tested

DEC Opens Eighty Percent of N.Y. to Fracking

Reversing his agency’s previous position, New York State’s chief environmental regulator now recommends an outright ban on high-volume hydrofracking within the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.

Joseph Martens, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, made the announcement July 1 just before the agency released major portions of its heavily revised rules for the controversial natural gas drilling technique.

Martens, who was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January, also said the DEC would drop its recommendation to allow drilling within state forests, wildlife areas and parklands. It also seeks for the first time a ban on fracking in primary aquifers.

The proposed new fracking bans represent a major departure from the DEC’s 2009 supplemental generic environmental impact statement.

Continue reading DEC Opens Eighty Percent of N.Y. to Fracking