A senior official at the state Department of Environmental Conservation has stated that the administration is pursuing a plan to limit the controversial shale gas drilling technology to portions of Broome, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga Counties. That region is along the border with heavily drilled Pennsylvania and is likely to yield significant quantities of natural gas in New York.
The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York is seeking to lease land for drilling and has persuaded several dozen towns to pass resolutions supporting drilling. Other towns have passed bans or moratoriums on drilling. The head of the landowner group, Dan Fitzsimmons, stated that he believes drilling can be done in an environmentally sound way and that it would be a huge benefit to the economy.
Cuomo and the Environmental Conservation Commissioner, Joe Martens, declined to give a specific timetable for completion of an environmental review and haven’t said definitively whether fracking will be allowed in New York. They stated that no decision will be made until the scientific review is complete and they have all the facts.
Numerous environmental, health, and community groups are seeking a statewide ban on fracking due to the risk of water and air pollution. Sandra Steingraber, founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking, stated that “partitioning our state into frack and no-frack zones based on economic desperation is a shameful idea, and we will actively oppose its implementation.”
Jim Smith, spokesman for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York said that “we support a program that allows the industry to prove what we’ve been saying all along – that drilling can be done safely in New York.”