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Leaders, Coalition Members and Supporters:
 
As many of you are aware, we heard more bad news on Friday evening. The DEC reported that they will likely not be finished with the health review by November 29, 2012, which means the proposed rules they have in place governing gas development (not the SGEIS ) will expire.  However, Commissioner Martens pulled back on that expectation yesterday, stating ""We are working with the Department of Health right now on questions like the scope of the health review, and we haven't made any decisions on whether or not we'll meet the deadline for the regulations.  If we complete the process, we'll finalize the regulations. It really depends on the timetable for the health review."

Please see the Summary of NYSDEC Draft Regulations for HVHF MS Word Document attached below.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/More-uncertainty-for-fracking-3910794.php#ixzz289c3PHia 
 
There are three scenarios that are possible:
 
 1)      The DOH wraps up their review of the Health analysis and the regs and SGEIS are issued on-time
 2)      The DEC extends the current regulatory process for 90 days, which will include a 30 public comment period.  The SGEIS can be issued independently, if the decision is made that the agency wants to start issuing permits during the pendency of the rulemaking.
 3)      The DEC can start the regulatory process all over again, reissuing the regs (likely with changes) and following the steps required by the State Administrative Procedures Act, including a 45 day public comment period and hearings.  This would take 90 days at a minimum, however, given the number of comments that are likely to be generated on the aspects of the regs that could be changed, it is more likely to take the better part of a year.  Again, it is possible that the DEC decides to issue the SGEIS any time during this process and begins to take permit applications. 
 
It is impossible to state with any certainty at this time which of these scenarios will play out.  Bear with us while we seek more information on the ramifications of each of these scenarios and try to gauge the likelihood of each of them coming to pass.

Warmly,
Dan Fitzsimmons

This is a powerful editorial from the NYPost -- signaling to us that it's now or never -- make your voice heard, landowners!  We have to work together, and support every effort we can for natural gas and for our rights. 

cuomo

Posted: October 02, 2012

Gov. Cuomo claims that his decision to impose yet another review of fracking won’t delay the process further, but speed it up.

“I reject the point,” the governor said, that “because you spend more time on an environmental review, you’re delaying.”

Except that Cuomo has been reviewing fracking — a process for extracting natural gas and oil from deep underground — since the day he took office.

He casually blew his own deadline for a decision, and this latest review is open-ended and doubtless good for another two years of delay — if not longer.

Yes, the governor claims that the latest delay would “actually be expediting the process net, because what could be months or years of litigation may be avoided.”

Which is preposterous, a sophistry.

Any decision that permits the extraction of even a molecule of natural gas will be hauled into court, regardless of merit — not to emerge for years. If ever.

Cuomo knows this.

So he’s trying to play both sides of the fence — to avoid political heat from anti-frackers while pretending great concern for the economic well-being of upstate.

That is, he’s faking.

It’s simply impossible to take Cuomo seriously on this any more.

His endless reviews-upon-reviews suggest that the governor was never serious about allowing fracking from the start.

The details are stultifying.

It’s enough to understand that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been studying fracking risks for four years now — and seems quite content to chug along for four more.

Meanwhile, the federal EPA’s enviro-zealot boss, Lisa Jackson, and her boss, President Obama, have both blessed fracking as safe, if done properly.

As has every other state in the nation, with the sole exception of Vermont.

Team Cuomo, asked by The Post yesterday, wouldn’t even promise that this latest new hurdle would be the last of them.

Based on this record, why should anyone believe the governor when he says “the decision will be made based on the science” and not politics?

It’s all about politics. That much seems clear by now.

Cuomo’s faking.

New York’s not fracking.

Nor will it be, for some time.

Probably not ever.

Have an opinion on this Post editorial? Send it in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!';document.getElementById('cloakd9f42897b4f4d52336bc548821006725').innerHTML += ''+addy_textd9f42897b4f4d52336bc548821006725+'<\/a>';

Dear Friends, Coalition Leaders, Landowners, and Natural Gas Supporters,

 
This update is to alert you that there is an upcoming public hearing and key town “information session.Since it is taking place during a heightened electoral season, while the state continues to delay certain statewide guidelines for natural gas development, we need to stay vigilant in promoting the rationale voices and messages to allow it to occur as soon as possible. We must continue to mount a visible pro natural gas development presence to combat the extreme actions and recycled fraudulent claims of the opposition.

 
For the hearing mentioned below, we need to have pro-gas supporters attend the hearing, with as many as possible actually speaking out against the proposed moratorium. Please wear shirts, hats, buttons and bring positive signs (for outside only). Our yard signs have been visible at recent meetings and rallies carrying a simple pro gas job message.
 
This key hearing is as follows:
Town of Chenango – Monday, Oct. 1st. Chenango Forks High School Auditorium. 1 Gordon Drive, Binghamton. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Hearing begins at 5:30 pm. Speakers should plan for 3 minutes to speak. The first 100 will likely speak so arriving early or having members able to hold spots in line starting at 4:30pm for speakers would be crucial. Please show up between 3:30 and 4:30 (or earlier) to fill the line.
 
I also want to share a couple of recent media articles that are a worthwhile read. The Times Union piece offers Governor Cuomo’s take on what he calls an “intelligent” approach by the DEC to conduct the health study internally. The editorial from the New York Daily News offers a bit of a tongue and cheek, yet artfully stated, look at the ridiculous fear mongering opposition activists are doing on the health and environmental fronts, desperate to get attention and traction when the science and facts don’t go their way.

 
N.Y. Laughing Gas
New York Daily News, September 23, 2012

Cuomo from giving the okay for fracking in New York, die-hard opponents of the natural gas drilling technology are floating laugh-out-loud-funny health and environmental threats. Most hilariously, the enviro-activists have demanded that state officials ...

 
Cuomo Calls State Fracking Health Study "Intelligent"
Capitol Confidential, September 23, 2012

NORTH HUDSON - While leading a tour through the newly-acquired Boreas
Tracts, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state was the most qualified entity to
review any health impacts associated with the permitting of natural gas
hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale region. Department of Environmental
Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Thursday that it would
partner with the Department of Health to conduct a public health review in
conjunction with its generic environmental impact statement that is expected
to let gas well permitting move forward. This review will further delay the
permitting.

 
Please feel free to share the urgent information about the upcoming local activity, the need for grassroots support, and the articles above with your fellow supporters.
 
Please know how much I appreciate the time, effort and energy given by so many of you in different ways. Know that we are having an important and much-needed impact. Your voices are being heard and must continue to be heard.

 
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments. I appreciate the continued efforts of each of you.

 
Warmest Regards,
Dan Fitzsimmons, President

Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc.

ALBANY — A few months after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was poised to approve hydraulic fracturing in several struggling New York counties, his administration is reversing course and starting the regulatory process over, garnering praise from environmental groups and stirring anger among industry executives and upstate landowners.

Ten days ago, after nearly four years of review by state regulators, the governor bowed to entreaties from environmentalists to conduct another study, this one an examination of potential impacts on public health. Neither the governor nor other state officials have given any indication of how long the study might take.

Then on Friday, state environmental officials said they would restart the regulatory rule-making process, requiring them to repeat a number of formal steps, including holding a public hearing, and almost certainly pushing a decision into next year.

The move also means that after already receiving nearly 80,000 public comments, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will be soliciting more input from New Yorkers about hydrofracking, or fracking, as the drilling process is known.

The developments have created a sense in Albany that Mr. Cuomo is slow-rolling fracking into oblivion. The governor has been influenced by the unshakable opposition from a corps of environmentalists and celebrity activists who are concerned about the safety of the water supply. The opponents include a number of people close to the governor, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime environmental activist in New York whose sister is the governor’s ex-wife.

The fracking issue is the biggest environmental question, and the most polarizing, facing Albany, and New York’s decision is being closely watched nationally, as President Obama and Mitt Romney have both expressed support for increased use of natural gas as a means to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The natural gas industry has been eager to drill in the Marcellus Shale, a deep underground repository that runs through West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, but where extraction was too complex and costly until the advent of hydrofracking.

The debate is politically complex for Mr. Cuomo, who has established a record as a social progressive and a fiscal centrist. Mr. Cuomo has been interested in fracking because of the promise that it could bring jobs to an economically struggling region of the state. The industry has also been a prolific campaign donor, and rejecting fracking would risk Mr. Cuomo’s close relationship with The New York Post, which has strongly advocated for drilling.

But opposition to fracking has become such a touchstone for liberals that approving it, even in a limited fashion, would undoubtedly alienate some of his most dependable supporters. Anti-fracking protesters have shadowed Mr. Cuomo for months, at his home, his office, and his speaking engagements, and a wide array of celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Yoko Ono, have mobilized to express opposition to the technology.

“Andrew has a very good political antenna, and we’ve never seen anything like this in terms of grass-roots power,” Mr. Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy and a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, said in a telephone interview. “In 30 years, I have not seen anything come close to this, in terms of the mobilization of the grass roots. You’ve got 20,000 people in the state who consider themselves to be anti-frack activists. So I think that’s got to impact the political process all around.”

The governor appointed Mr. Kennedy, who lives in Westchester County, to an advisory panel on fracking last year, and Mr. Kennedy has been in frequent contact with the governor and his staff about the issue.

Mr. Kennedy said that he and the governor had discussed the research on fracking, including examinations of how frequently the concrete well casings used in fracking fail, exposing potential toxins. He said they had also discussed a March study from the Colorado School of Public Health that found that people living near fracking sites were more likely to be exposed to harmful air pollutants like benzene and toluene.

“I’m surprised how long he’s withstood the tide,” Mr. Kennedy said of the governor. “I’m proud that he’s done that. There’s no other governor who’s just said ‘let’s hold off.’ And he’s under, I can tell you, tremendous pressure by the industry and by others.”

Mr. Cuomo told reporters last week that the commission of yet another study on fracking did not signal an end to the process.

“We’ve said all along that the decision will be made based on the science, right?” he said. “It was not predetermined, it was not a political position, let’s get the facts, let’s make a decision on the facts. I understand the emotion, I deal with the emotion every day on both sides of the issue, right? So we get the emotion, we get the rhetoric, we get the hyperbole. Let’s get some facts and data and some science, and we’ll make the decision on the science, which is what should be done here.”

And Katherine Nadeau, a program director at Environmental Advocates of New York, said talk of an end to fracking was premature.

“From what I can tell, it doesn’t seem to me that the administration is necessarily backing off, but they are listening to the enormous public concern and outcry and making sure to take this incredibly slowly,” she said.

But industry and landowner groups are growing increasingly concerned about the shifting tone toward fracking expressed at the Capitol.

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, an industry group, said that while some of his members “have made the decision to move on, those that remain are taking Governor Cuomo at his word. But they are also struggling.”

“After four years of waiting, any additional unforeseen circumstance, irrespective of its merit or cause, places an extraordinary burden on those fighting to be part of a new New York,” he added, referring to one of Mr. Cuomo’s campaign slogans. 

Scott Kurkoski, the lead lawyer for the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, a pro-fracking group, was more pointed.

“The part that concerns us is our governor has said he wants to keep it out of politics and focus on the science, but it looks like politics is really taking over now,” he said, adding that some smaller landowners who were hoping to lease their land were facing foreclosure.

“I don’t think the governor cares about the plight of the upstate New York landowners,” he said.

In horizontal hydraulic fracturing, large volumes of water and chemicals are injected deep underground at high pressures to break up rock formations and release pockets of natural gas. In the late spring, the administration had drawn up a plan to approve fracking in portions of several New York counties located west of the Catskills, along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support.

But that plan only hardened opposition.

“The governor’s office is moving cautiously by floating solutions and listening to the critiques,” Mr. Kennedy said. “You really feel like there’s some democracy happening here.”

It was not entirely clear what further health impacts would be studied that were not already encompassed by the review process that began in the summer of 2008. In a statement in response to questions, the Department of Environmental Conservation said “health impacts were not overlooked” in the agency’s prior reviews, and “were fully assessed” in a draft environmental impact study that was released last year.

Joseph Martens, the agency’s commissioner, said last week: “Obviously if there was a public health concern that could not be addressed we would not proceed.”

Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Binghamton Republican and leading proponent of fracking, said he hoped the new study was “the last major hurdle,” adding, “I want to believe that.”

 

By DANNY HAKIM

Posted by: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 28, 2012 in Politics on the Hudson

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday signaled it anticipates missing a little-noticed deadline for its proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations—a move that would force the agency to restart its rule-making process and reopen the regulations to public comment.

Missing the deadline would further cloud the already murky situation surrounding the state’s decision on high-volume fracking, which is currently not allowed in New York as the DEC continues an environmental review that has stretched on for more than four years.

In an email, DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said a newly expanded review of the health effects of hydrofracking for natural gas will likely cause the agency to miss a late November deadline.

“Given that DEC has said no regulations or final decision will be issued until the completion of (Health Commissioner Nirav Shah’s) review, should high-volume hydraulic fracturing move forward, it is expected that a new rule-making process would be undertaken,” DeSantis wrote.

Last year, DEC officials proposed formal regulations to govern the natural-gas industry that would carry the force of law. The agency held a set of public hearings afterward, the last of which was held on Nov. 30.

Under state law, the DEC has one year after holding its last public hearing to finalize the regulations, though it can file for a 90-day extension. If it misses the deadline, the rule-making process restarts, complete with a new comment period. The deadline was first reported Thursday by the blog Shale Gas Review.

The rule-making process is separate from the DEC’s overarching environmental review, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement. That review, which was first launched in July 2008 and contains thousands of pages of proposed guidelines for gas-drilling permits, would not have to be restarted if the November deadline is blown.

The DEC announced last year that it planned to issue formal regulations as a way to bolster the recommendations in the environmental impact statement.

Commissioner Joseph Martens said last year that the agency would move to issue permits if the environmental impact statement was completed before the rules were finalized. But now that is uncertain.

Asked if the DEC stands by Martens’ assertion last year, DeSantis said: “It is undetermined.”

Most proposed regulations require a comment period of at least 45 days under state law. A new round of public response would undoubtedly bring in thousands of comments. Response periods in 2009 and 2011 garnered a total of about 80,000 formal comments, according to the DEC.

Most of the submissions were in response to the DEC’s environmental impact statement. The flood of responses considerably lengthened the agency’s review of hydrofracking.

Thomas West, an Albany-based attorney and lobbyist representing several oil and gas companies, said missing the deadline doesn’t necessarily mean further delay.

“The failure to complete the rule-making in a timely fashion or starting a new one should not be an impediment to moving forward in New York if and when—hopefully sometime in my lifetime—they finally finish the process,” West said.

Friday’s decision is the latest ambiguity on hydrofracking in New York.

The DEC last week announced that it has asked the state Department of Health to review its study of hydrofracking, which involves the use of water, sand and chemicals mixed together and injected underground to break apart gas-rich shale formations. The announcement came after environmental groups had criticized the agency for not taking a closer look at potential health impacts associated with the gas-extraction process.

Katherine Nadeau, water and natural resources program director for Environmental Advocates of New York, welcomed the news that DEC may restart the regulation-crafting process.

“From our point of view, beginning a new public process based on the results of the Department of Health’s health impact review is exactly the right approach that Governor (Andrew) Cuomo and the DEC should take,” she said. “They should not issue any permits until the health impact review and the public process is concluded.”

Informed of the DEC’s comments, New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau said the gas industry retains its confidence in the Cuomo administration.

“Certainly any hint at delay is something that doesn’t help the state’s economic picture, but as far as whether or not this is going to affect the ultimate outcome, I can’t say that,” Moreau said. “We feel very confident that the process is going to unfold as it should, the health review will be done and a determination will be made at that point.”

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