The legislature is working hard on the budget, but, some new bills about gas drilling are also being introduced.  I’ll post on others later– for now:

In the Assembly, Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Sweeney has introduced A10292 .  It was referred to the Environmental Conservation Committee on 3/16.    It focuses on permitting requirements and reclamation plans to be implemented by the gas drilling industry after drilling is completed, and requires bonding to pay for these reclamations.  The sponsors’ memo is reproduced below.  There is not a matching bill in the Senate at this time.

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to permits to drill oil and gas wells

Purpose Or General Idea Of Bill: The purpose of this bill is to provide
greater oversight of natural gas and oil drilling.

Summary Of Specific Provisions:

This bill would:

* amend the definition of “plug and abandon” to include consideration of
reclamation;

* increase the amount of financial security necessary for well drilling;
and,

* require permit applicants to submit an approved drilling use plan that
includes:

o expected water usage,

o potential water conservation measures,

o fluid storage and disposal measures,

o signed contract with a disposal facility,

o site specific biological and water quality data, and,

o reclamation plan including measures to mitigate the impact to existing
habitat, including the preservation of habitat fragmentation

Effects Of Present Law Which This Bill Would Alter: Amends section
23-0101(13) of the Environmental Conservation Law and adds a new section
23-0305(8) to the ECL.

Justification: New York is home to rich natural gas reserves. In 2006,
there were 6,213 active natural gas wells that generated a state record
of 55.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The Marcellus formation that
extends from the Southern Tier into Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
is estimated to have $1 trillion worth of natural gas, and is largely
untapped. The rising price of natural gas has led to an increased demand
for new sources and made formations like the Marcellus even more attrac-
tive.

The extraction of these reserves is accompanied by considerable risk to
the environment. In order to fully examine this risk, the Assembly Envi-
ronmental Conservation Committee has held a series of hearings to exam-
ine the environmental protections needed in the Department of Environ-
mental Conservation’s (DEC) natural gas and oil drilling regulatory

structure in order to safeguard natural resources. In the course of
these hearings, much expert testimony was presented on necessary steps
to ensure the safety of New York’s precious water resources.

Drilling, including the development of well pads and access roads has
the potential to pose long-term environmental impacts, including water
shortages and runoff management. This legislation is intended to mini-
mize the long-term potential impacts associated with drilling by requir-
ing the development of a reclamation plan. The plan proposed within this
bill is similar to the reclamation plan currently required for mining
activities.

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