Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511


S.8129-B (Thompson) /
A.11443-B (Sweeney



Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing



November 29, 2010


The Business Council opposes this legislation which would place a suspension on the issuance of any permits for horizontal drilling which utilizes hydraulic fracturing in this state until May 15, 2011.

First, a suspension of the permitting process is unnecessary. Hydraulic fracturing has been safely employed in New York for over 60 years under the regulatory oversight of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Department’s ongoing and long-standing regulation of hydraulic fracturing has proven sufficiently protective of groundwater resources and will continue to be protective under the enhanced permitting requirements proposed in the SGEIS.

Hydraulic fracturing is a proven technology that has allowed natural gas producers to safely and economically recover natural gas from deep shale formations across the country.  It is vital to today’s shale gas revolution, which is reducing reliance on foreign oil, lowering air emissions generated by dirty coal, and vastly increasing America’s supply of clean natural gas.

Thousands of horizontal wells have been drilled across the United States with hydraulic fracturing without contamination. Our neighbor to the south is a testament to the success of this drilling. Economic revitalization is underway across Pennsylvania's northern border.

Second, the bill’s provisions prohibit all drilling permits, in any gas formation, where hydraulic fracturing is used.  More than 90% of the hundreds of new wells permitted in New York State each year in formations other than Marcellus and Utica are developed using hydraulic fracturing. The Department issued more than 1200 such permits in the past two years.

Finally, the proposed suspension would delay economic development opportunities, which will drive jobs and economic growth for many financially strapped communities and provide extraordinary end use savings for customers who burn clean, abundant and domestically produced natural gas.

New York has a long history in natural gas production.  Some of the first natural gas wells were drilled in the early 1800’s near Fredonia.  New York drilling companies drill approximately 1000 wells each year in New York.

Natural gas production will yield extensive new job opportunities, provide increased state and local tax collections and boost local economies and provide long-term growth particularly to the Southern Tier, an area in desperate need of economic growth.

We encourage DEC to begin permitting these wells and policing New York’s production operations.  Only then will New York achieve its long-term energy security goals, its environmental compliance objectives, and economic opportunities that are sure to follow natural gas development.

For these reasons the Business Council respectfully recommends against adoption of S.8129-B/A.11443-B.