“This is a Christmas Present to big oil and gas!”
Brewster, N.Y. – (09/07/10) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) is responding to the recently released Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) report on hydraulic fracturing in New York, calling the report a Christmas present to big oil and gas, who could start receiving drilling permits after the December 12th close of the comment period. While Senator Ball commends the DEC for requiring gas companies to disclose chemicals used in the hydrofracking process, he’s raising red flags about an industry that is not willing to come to the table to guarantee the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers.
“The gas industry stands at the precipice of earning billions of dollars from New York’s natural gas resources and has yet to sit down and answer tough questions about how they plan to protect our state,” said Senator Ball who recently held a hearing on hydraulic fracturing in Katonah, N.Y., which industry representatives failed to attend.
In addition, Senator Ball is calling on the DEC to extend the public comment period to 180 days so that the State Legislature has time to consider regulating the industry through legislation. The DEC report calls for a ninety-seven day public comment period, falling short of the Legislature’s January 4th return to Albany. Ball said, “This short comment period gives big oil and gas a 23-day head start on Albany and rewards them for avoiding to answer the tough questions. We need 180 days to have a serious dialogue that will have long-term and widespread implications throughout New York.”
Senator Ball has proposed legislation that protects the rights of property owners and sets tough, new standards for safe hydrofracking in New York. Among other things, Senator Ball’s comprehensive fracking bill would impose penalties for companies that fail to protect property owners. The legislation includes the following measures: · Mandatory water and soil testing by an official governmental third-party for presence of chemicals used by the fracturing process prior to drilling
· All fracking companies must agree to sign a Presumption of Causation Agreement with the State of New York.
· Mandatory full reimbursement to property owners by negligent gas companies for 150% of the real estate’s market value of property, based on estimates prior to drilling, and 100% of the cost for full remediation of soil and water. The company will also be accountable for full reimbursement of the land owner’s legal fees.
· Mandatory full remediation of soil and water, and free medical monitoring for life. All settlements are not to be taxed.
· Allow local governments to enact or enforce certain laws and ordinances relating to oil, gas and solution mining.
· Mandatory adherence to an environmental impact assessment process, similar to New York’s SEQR Process, to assess the impact to the environment from hydraulic fracturing.
· Mandatory disclaimers and warning statements on lease documents about the risk of contamination of soil and water, as well as the potential health affects, related to hydraulic fracturing spills.
“This legislation goes a long way toward protecting the rights of property owners and citizens in New York,” said Senator Ball who recently toured communities in Pennsylvania that have been affected by hydraulic fracturing. “I’m asking my colleagues in the Senate and the Assembly to take a similar tour and see first-hand what can happen if we don’t take seriously our responsibility. We owe it to our residents, to the environment and future generations,” added Ball.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner at (845) 200-9716.