A new bill has been introduced into the Assembly by Assemblyman Engelbright calling for a 5-year moratorium on hydrofracking in NYS.  The bill, A06541, has been referred to the Environmental Conservation Committee of the Assembly.  There is no “same as” in the Senate at this time.  The hot-link to the bill is below, along with more information.

Look Before you Leap Act of 2011

A06541 Summary:

BILL NO    A06541 

SAME AS    No same as

SPONSOR    Englebright

COSPNSR    

MLTSPNSR   



Enacts the "look before you leap act of 2011" to establish a 5 year moratorium
on high volume hydraulic fracturing and the conducting of an investigation
thereon.

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A06541 Actions:

BILL NO    A06541 

03/21/2011 referred to environmental conservation

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A06541 Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in the current legislative session.

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A06541 Memo:

BILL NUMBER:A6541

TITLE  OF BILL:   An act to enact the "look before you leap act of 2011"
relating to the imposition of a 5 year moratorium on high volume hydrau-
lic fracturing for the purpose of conducting  an  investigation  of  the
effect of hydraulic fracturing

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill seeks to place a 5 year mora-
torium.  upon  hydraulic  fracturing in New York State in order to learn
from the freaking experiences of other states, and  particularly  neigh-
boring  Pennsylvania, and requires the state university centers at Alba-
ny, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook to conduct an investigation into
the cumulative impacts of hydraulic fracturing across the country, which
is necessitated by the exemptions granted to the oil  and  gas  industry
from  major  federal environmental laws that protect our air, lands, and
water.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:  Establishes a moratorium  on  hydraulic
fracturing  for the extraction of natural gas or oil for a 5 year period
during which time the university research  centers  in  New  York  State
shall conduct an investigation into the cumulative impacts of this rela-
tively new and rapidly expanding technology.

JUSTIFICATION:  The  relatively new drilling method known as high-volume
hydraulic fracturing, or  fracking,  carries  significant  environmental
risks.  Among the adverse environmental impacts associated with fracking
such as heavy truck traffic, road building and site clearing, the  proc-
ess  itself  involves  drilling  into  the earth and pumping millions of
gallons of water under high pressure into the ground that is mixed  with
sand  and  laced  with  industrial  chemicals  which the industry is not
legally bound to disclose. The poisonous fluid fractures the  shale  and
releases  natural gas deposits for collection. In addition to the chemi-
cally laden water pumped into the drill site,  highly  corrosive  salts,
carcinogens  like  benzene  and radioactive elements like radium all can
occur naturally thousands of  feet  underground  and  combine  with  the
fracking  fluids to create millions of gallons of highly salinated toxic
wastewater.

Thousands of internal documents recently obtained by the New York  Times
from  the  Environmental Protection Agency reveal that wastewater, which
is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it,  is  then
discharged  into  rivers  that  supply drinking water, containing radio-
activity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the
level that federal regulators say is safe for the  treatment  plants  to
handle.  The NYT reports that pressure and influence from the gas indus-
try and lawmakers from states that  support  hydrofrackina  have  effec-
tively pressured the federal government to allow the industry unfettered
growth. Despite alarming accounts reported in the media from gas produc-
ing states across the country, the EPA has not intervened, in large part
because  of  the industry's exemptions and exclusions from federal envi-
ronmental protection laws.

Next door in Pennsylvania there has been a doubling of active wells from
2,000 in 2000 to 71,000 in 2010. Governor Tom Corbett has been quoted as
saying Pennsylvania will become the next Texas of the gas  industry.  He
has recently given mew powers to the Secretary or Community and Economic
Development that give authority to override Environmental Protection and
other  agencies  if  he  thinks  they  are  slowing Marcellus expansion,
despite over 1400 violations of environmental law that DEP cited against
gas drillers just last year. The NYT further reports  that  federal  and
state  regulators  around the country are allowing most sewage treatment
plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity.  Howev-
er, most drinking water intake plants downstream from  sewage  treatment
plants  in  Pennsylvania  that  accept hydro racking wastewater have not
tested for radioactivity since before 2006,  even  though  the  drilling
boom began in 2008.

Drillers  in  Pennsylvania  trucked  at  least half of the wastewater to
public sewage treatment plants in 2008 and 2009 according to state offi-
cials but some of it has been sent to other states, including New York.

Despite the much anticipated EPA study concerning the impacts of  hydro-
fracking  on  drinking water due out next year, recent reports by the MI
suggest the scope of the study is being narrowed  through  gas  industry
influence.

New  York  State  must  continue to be vigilant where questions of water
quality and public health are concerned  and  must  have  all  available
information  before  allowing  a questionable practice such as hydraulic
fracturing to take place without fully knowing  the  potential  dangers.
This legislation places a 5 year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York
State  in order to benefit from the franking experiences of other states
and to make an independent and  reasoned  evaluation  of  the  potential
benefits  and  adverse  impacts  associated  with this rabidly expanding
technology.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:; To be determined,

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

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A06541 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                         6541

                              2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                    March 21, 2011
                                      ___________

       Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  ENGLEBRIGHT -- read once and referred to the
         Committee on Environmental Conservation

       AN ACT to enact the "look before you leap act of 2011" relating  to  the
         imposition  of a 5 year moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing
         for the purpose of  conducting  an  investigation  of  the  effect  of
         hydraulic fracturing

         THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
    2  the "look before you leap act of 2011."
    3    S  2.  Legislative  findings.  The  legislature  hereby finds that the
    4  drilling method, known as high-volume  hydraulic  fracturing  or  hydro-
    5  fracking,  carries significant environmental risks that impact land, air
    6  and water resources.
    7    The legislature further  finds  that  the  natural  gas  industry  has
    8  exemptions  or  exclusions from key parts of at least seven of the major
    9  federal environmental laws designed to protect air and water from radio-
   10  active and hazardous chemicals  including:  the  national  Environmental
   11  Policy  Act;  the  Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; the Safe Drinking
   12  Water Act; the Resource Conservation and  Recovery  Act;  the  Superfund
   13  Act; and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
   14    S  3.  (a)  There  is  hereby  established  a 5 year moratorium on the
   15  conducting of high volume hydraulic fracturing in this state to  provide
   16  an opportunity for the state to learn from the hydrofracking experiences
   17  of other states, which is necessitated by the exemptions, granted to the
   18  natural  gas  industry, from major federal laws protecting our air, land
   19  and water from radioactive and toxic wastes, and to make a comprehensive
   20  and cumulative examination of the environmental impacts associated  with
   21  the  recent  rapid  expansion of hydrofracking across the United States,
   22  with particular emphasis on the natural  gas  boom  that  began  in  the
   23  neighboring state of Pennsylvania 3 years ago, and information therefrom

        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD10315-01-1
       A. 6541                             2

    1  shall  be available to the public concerning these cumulative impacts to
    2  our nation's air, land and water resources.
    3    (b)  The  state  university  of New York university centers at Albany,
    4  Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook shall in cooperation with each other
    5  conduct an investigation into the  practice  of  high  volume  hydraulic
    6  fracturing  in  conformance  with subdivision (a) of this section. On or
    7  before the fifth year following the effective date  of  this  act,  such
    8  university  centers  shall  jointly issue a report of their findings and
    9  recommendations as a result of the investigations conducted pursuant  to
   10  this  section.  Such  report  shall  be  submitted  to the governor, the
   11  commissioner of environmental  conservation  and  the  legislature,  and
   12  shall be published and made available to the public.
   13    S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

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