How Long Is Long Enough?
Dr. Charlie Carpenter
Vestal Gas Coalition
How long is long enough?
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has published a Draft Supplemental Generic Impact Statement (SGEIS) that will be the foundation for regulations on Marcellus Shale natural gas development in the state. It requires a 60 day comment period. Some officials suggest extending this to 90 days. Anti-gas special interests want 180 days. When will the delays stop?
The first nine chapters of the SGEIS have been available to the public to study since July 8th, 2011. There is an established 60 day comment period after the last two chapters are released. No extension beyond that seems necessary as we have already had 46 days (and counting) to review the vast majority of the material that will be used to form regulations.
It is perhaps true the gas will not go away altogether given existing investments in New York, but the industry is clearing moving to states that are welcoming to it (e.g., Ohio). Further delay will only further distance Southern Tier residents from the desperately needed economic opportunities and new jobs Marcellus Shale development would certainly bring.
Additionally, this development would produce major tax revenues for our school districts, towns and counties. Many people are unaware of New York’s ad valorem tax (see pages 17-22) but for the people who have no land – who say there is nothing in gas for them – there are tremendous tax benefits. While the tax rate is a rolling average, there is still a lot of money that will return to school district, towns and counties. What that could do for our current tax rates by reducing the burden on everyone who lives here, is impressive. Just look at this example:
We can afford no more delays! We need natural gas and we need it now. Enough is enough!