The bill recently introduced by Senator Tony Avella, S4220-2011, is the first bill introduced into the NYS legislature to ban fracking. The bill’s short name is:
Click the link to access the full text of the bill. The summary information and Sponsor’s Memo are below. Senator Avella is a Democrat, in the minority in the Senate.
- Mar 23, 2011: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
BILL NUMBER:S4220 TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to prohibiting the use of hydraulic fracturing PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: The purpose of this legislation is to prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing in the process of drilling for natural gas and/or oil. SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends paragraph b of subdivision 1 of section 23-0501 of the environmental conservation law by adding a new subparagraph 4 which defines "Hydraulic Fracturing" to mean "fracturing of rock by man-made fluid-driven fracturing techniques for the purpose of stimulating natural gas or oil well production". Section 2 of the bill amends section 23-0305 of the environmental conservation law by adding a new subdivision 15 to prohibit the Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing any permit for the drilling or operation of any well proposing to use hydraulic fracturing or hydraulic fracturing fluids for the extraction of gas and/or oil. Section 3 of the bill amends subdivision 3 of section 23-0501 of the environmental conservation law by renumbering it to subdivision 4 of section 23-0501 and adds a new subdivision 3, paragraph a, to prohibit the Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing any permit for the drilling or operation of any well proposing to use hydraulic fracturing or hydraulic fracturing fluids for the extraction of gas and/or oil; and, paragraph b that defines hydraulic fracturing as the fracturing of rock by man-made fluid-driven fracturing techniques for the purpose of stimulating natural gas or oil well production. Section 4 sets an immediate effective date. JUSTIFICATION: As the price of oil continues its meteoric rise due to demand and regional instability in oil producing nations, the cry for fuel alternatives including natural gas gets louder. In addition, the need for job creation becomes more imperative as New Yorkers try to recover from the economic crises of recent years and the state attempts to balance an out of control budget. Each of these mounting concerns compels the State to utilize its large natural gas reserves to alleviate these problems. Unfortunately, in our haste to find an expedient and viable solution to these issues the State could easily create a situation where we put our citizens at grave risk of harm from an environmental disaster by expanding the use of hydraulic fracturing methods of extracting natural gas and oil. The extraction of natural gas and oil reserves using hydraulic fracturing presents significant risk to the environment. This method of natural gas and oil extraction utilizes water combined with multiple chemical additives, some of which are toxic and have been shown to be associated with public health risks such as cancer and developmental delays. Unfortunately many companies involved in drilling have been resistant to revealing which chemicals are contained in their fracturing fluids, making it difficult for communities to assess their risk due to drilling operations. There are also additional chemical contamination risks posed by transportation of chemicals to drilling sites and the storage of the millions of gallons of used fluids that are produced through the drilling process. Most importantly, a large proportion of the state's drinking water supplies come from areas located above the Utica and Marcellus Shale geological formations where much of the state's natural gas reserves exist. Use of hydraulic fracturing to extract these reserves inherently creates a tremendous risk of contamination to the State's drinking water supply and in turn risk of a significant public health crisis affecting millions of people both upstate and downstate. Moreover, communities located above the Utica and Marcellus Shales would be further burdened by the construction of new roads to accommodate drilling sites, increased traffic, and potential decreases in air quality due to emissions from drilling operations. The risk of catastrophic danger to the environment, especially the state's drinking water supplies, as a result hydraulic fracturing far outweighs the potential for job creation and promotion of a natural gas alternative to oil. Therefore, the practice of hydraulic fracturing should be banned throughout New York State. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill. FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Yet to be determined. EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.