October 5, 2012 Leave a comment
As local restrictions on shale drilling crop up, one industry representative candidly voices his annoyance.
This story appeared in EnergyWire in October 2012. The story is behind a paywall, but an excerpt is below.
API criticizes ‘foolish’ drilling bans, N.Y.’s fracking delay
Local shale drilling bans are often “foolish” and championed by uninformed leaders, an industry economist said yesterday.
The American Petroleum Institute’s John Felmy said in a call with reporters that he hoped more bans would go the way of Binghamton, N.Y.’s hydraulic fracturing prohibition, which was struck down Tuesday by the state Supreme Court.
“Let’s look at why [local leaders] are making these decisions,” Felmy said of local drilling restrictions sprinkled across the Marcellus Shale (EnergyWire, Sept. 25).
“Somebody went out and saw ‘Gasland’ and suddenly decided that they needed to do something,” he added, referring to filmmaker Josh Fox’s anti-fracking documentary that draws connections between the drilling practice and water contamination.
Binghamton’s two-year ban on fracking — the process of shooting chemical-laced sand and water deep underground to access trapped oil and gas — was overturned because the court found it to be worded as an illegal moratorium, not a police-powers action as city officials had claimed (EnergyWire, Oct. 4).
Local control over oil and gas development has become a contentious topic at the center of more widespread litigation, including a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case that zeroes in on local zoning rights. Industry maintains that local bans and moratoriums create a regulatory jumble, which puts additional strain on operators and ultimately causes states to miss out on increased local revenue brought on by oil and gas development.
In New York it will be even longer until any concrete impacts of development or local limitations can be seen, as the state has delayed a decision on lifting its current fracking moratorium until a new health study is done. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) administration announced plans last week to take on an internal health review of fracking, a move that will likely require the state to restart the long rulemaking process (EnergyWire, Oct. 2).
Felmy would not clarify whether he thought the governor was stalling, but he said he was doubtful of the rationale for carrying out a health study.
“What evidence have you seen that they should be doing it?” he asked. “Otherwise, it looks like it’s just a delaying tactic” …
Email me at egilmer(at)eenews.net for more.