The Business Council opposes this legislation which would require permit holders to test groundwater before and after drilling oil or natural gas wells.
This legislation represents bad public policy for several reasons:
- First, the bill would require annual testing of all oil producing or natural gas wells, including low-volume/low-profit wells. There is no reason to mandate testing of wells where there is virtually no oil or gas produced and that are now only marginally viable economically.
- This bill will make it difficult for many small natural gas businesses to remain in business. Drilling and maintaining a well is already very costly. When one factors in the costs of transportation, landowner gas, taxes, well-site reclamation and overhead costs, a typical well will yield barely more than it cost to drill, complete and produce. Adding on additional costs before and after drilling a well creates another setback to economic growth and energy independence for New York's towns and cities.
- There is no evidence to show any serious threat to potable water zones. There have been hundreds of hydraulic fracturing treatments performed in New York State over the years. In that time the Department of Environmental Conservation has never found a single case of documented damage to aquifers. Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of a solution consisting primarily of water under high pressure into the shale deposit formation thousands of feet below the ground and fresh water aquifers. This process causes the rock to break, which allows the trapped natural gas to be released into a contained system. The fluids used during the hydraulic fracturing process comply with all current EPA regulations, and all have been disclosed to the DEC for that agency's ongoing review. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found no cause for concern.
The Business Council fully understands the concerns of some who believe the process of extracting natural gas might negatively impact our natural resources. However, there is no evidence to suggest the current methods do so. For these reasons, we oppose enactment of A.8784.