New York Battle Cry: Landowners Continue to Fight for Responsible Shale Gas Development, Jobs

Just weeks after the DEC’s public comment period on gas drilling regulations came to a close, leaders in New York from across the spectrum continue to speak out forcefully about moving forward with responsible shale gas development in the Empire State. Joining the broad chorus of shale gas supporters, landowners are urging leaders in Albany to implement the aggressive hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling regulations drawn up by the DEC, which would finally enable Marcellus-related exploration in the state.

In fact, the growing coalition of concerned New Yorkers met yesterday in the town of Fenton along the state’s southern tier, where Marcellus shale gas production would have an extraordinary economic impact.

WICZ-TV reports this about yesterday’s meeting under the headline “Gas Drilling Advocates Rally To Pressure Albany”:

People in favor of natural gas drilling say a lot of information out there is false, and that the fear its generated is keeping natural gas drilling from moving forward.

Advocates of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale say their voices aren’t being heard. “I feel very frustrated,” said Richard Lasky, president of the Central NY Landowners Coalition.

No one has been able to establish that any contamination has occurred from hydraulic fracturing that contaminated water supplies,” said Petroleum Engineer David Keefe.

“There is no way in the world that once we’ve drilled a well and cased it and cemented the casing, that any of those fracking fluids at five thousand feet would ever get back up, they couldn’t possibly contaminate those formations, yet that allegation is repeated over and over again,” said Keefe.

To view this webcast of this television report, click HERE.

Lobbying to Allow Drilling” is the headline WBNG-TV went with in their coverage of yesterday’s meeting. This from their report:

In a closed door meeting in Fenton, legislators and landowners teamed up to formulate a plan to end the moratorium on gas drilling.

“There’s been some positive with the delays. It’s helped us to get up to speed on current practices,” said Brian Conover, a landowner in Norwich. “Now we’re getting on the other side, where it’s hindering the economy.”

“People just don’t understand our communities have been hijacked right now,” Fitzsimmons said. “By outside organizations that have come here. They make their money on fear.”

“Jobs are being lost. Government programs are being cut, not just for someone in Conklin but for someone in New York City as well. This impacts the entire state,” said Scott Kurkoski.

Still, as Mr. Fitzsimmons mentions, opponents of responsible shale gas development continue to launch unsubstantiated attacks on hydraulic fracturing and its long and clear record of heavy regulation, environmental safety and effectiveness. But backers of responsible homegrown energy production are speaking out in New York and in energy-producing states across the nation.

Gerry Calhoun, a Nashville-based petroleum geologist, writes this today in a Tennessean column entitled “Drilling processes have been used safely for 60 years”:

Ill-informed environmentalists have spread unjustified fears that shale gas drilling endangers ground-water supplies.

Completing a well involves fracturing the shale that otherwise would not release its gas. Fracturing is carefully controlled so that no fissures extend beyond the shale zone. Fractures above or below the shale might enter nearby saltwater-filled zones that would cause flooding and stop the gas production.

Factual information about the production of shale gas ought to allay any fears as to the safety of fresh-water supplies or damage to the terrain.

And in another Tennessean column today, William McCollum, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s chief operating officer, writes that “new methods of extracting gas from shale prove economically and environmentally sound.”

Mr. McCollum is right: Shale gas production is environmentally sound. Ultra Petroleum’s chairman and CEO, Mike Watford, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer last night that “Hydraulic fracturing’s been used in our industry for over 60 years with no recorded cases of any impact to drinking water. So it’s entirely safe.”

On fracturing’s long record of safety and success, Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, reminds readers in today’s Charleston Daily Mail that “We’ve been doing hydraulic fracturing for nearly 50 years” in the Mountaineer State.

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