Governor Paterson of New York is not Fracking Around Anymore

Gov. David Paterson Environmental groups celebrated when Governor David Paterson directed a seven-month moratorium on natural gas drilling sites in New York; however, environmentalists feel that this still isn’t good enough.

The outgoing governor, a Democrat, vetoed a bill last week which, if passed, would have suspended all new natural-gas drilling permits until the date of May 15 or later. Instead, he issued an executive order prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing of horizontally drilled wells.

Also known as fracking, high-volume hydraulic fracturing consists of the blasting of millions of gallons of chemical-laced water, found thousands of feet under the ground, to shatter shale and release natural gas trapped inside.

Medium Fracking oilIn vetoing the Legislature’s oil and gas-drilling moratorium, Paterson said it would have been applied to all low-volume, conventional, vertically drilled wells, and effectually pulling the plug on an industry which has operated safely for decades.

Low-volume fracking on vertical wells uses thousands of gallons of water per well, as opposed to 8 million gallons per horizontal well used in high-volume fracturing.

Governor Paterson’s budget office estimated that this broad a ban would end up with the loss of thousands of industry jobs, cease landowner payments and reduce state and local revenues from permit fees and taxes significantly.

According to the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, the Legislature’s moratorium would have threatened the viability of more than 300 producing companies and about 5,000 jobs.

The oil and gas association said the Legislature’s bill would have severed the number of months drilling could take place next year by half, resulting in a net loss of up to $800,000 in real property taxes and $1.4 million in royalty payments.

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