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:


Prohibits the use of hydraulic fracturing in the extraction of oil and gas

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.

Sponsor: AVELLA / Committee: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION / Law Section: Environmental Conservation Law

S4220-2011 Actions

  • Mar 23, 2011: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

S4220-2011 Memo

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.

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