Last summer I was in Pinedale, Wyoming preparing for a climb of the state high point Gannet Peak which would mark my 38 state high point (Currently I am sitting on 41 completed toward my goal of all 50 state high points by the time I turn 50 August 31, 2013). While there, I struck up a conversation with a fellow sitting next to me. I opened with, “So what do folks do around here for work?” and he responded, “Drill for gas” (natural gas). I asked “Gas?,” “Yeah, shale gas” he remarked “and we can hardly find able body workers to help with all the work we have.” He further told me that unemployment in Sublette County was less than one (1%) percent.
Wow I said to myself, with the nation struggling through the great recession shale gas drilling was producing jobs and lots of them. I vowed to look into this further when I returned to New York. I further learned that New York state sits on the Northern end of the largest Shale gas deposits in the United States called the Marcellus Shale and that this shale is underlain by the deeper Utica shale. Why is this Shale not being accessed as it is in Pennsylvania and other states when the Marcellus Shale represents 62% of all known shale reserves in the United States?
Since my random Wyoming encounter, I have traveled across New York State’s southern tier and much of Pennsylvania. I have read NYSDEC’s extensive Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) covering proposed regulations governing shale gas drilling that utilizes the controversial technique. This technique combines horizontal drilling and high volume hydrofracturing (HVHF). I have compared these proposed regulations to neighboring state’s regulations and attended numerous public meeting on the topic along with industry trade shows.
I have found the regulations to be comprehensive and frankly overly restrictive, although ultimately workable and good for New York. In this blog I all examine the regulations in detail and compare them to other states where “problems” have been identified. I will point out how the proposed regulations crafted by DEC address and eliminate problem areas and practices.
Recently (2/15/12) the University of Texas at Austin released a extensive report titled Fact Based Regulations for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development, which sheds additional light on the economic benefits of shale gas drilling and points out media misrepresentation of facts and risks associated with Shale Gas drilling. I highly recommend readers review this document.
As I sit in Bath New York, Steuben County and see truck after truck headed south to Pennsylvania I wonder when will Governor Cuomo take a positive stance on this issue and direct DEC to release its regulations and let the drilling in New York begin? I ask, when will the Governor and our elected officials stop pandering to the “Not in my backyard” (NIMBs) from the cities and let the positive economic benefits of drilling in the economically depressed southern tier start?
The time is now and my firm is poised to aid in this effort while educating our clients and friends on how to drill balancing gas development and protecting the waters of the state of New York. Drilling for gas in New York is good for the state and will help lower the unemployment rate as it has done in Pinedale, Wyoming.
Photo Credit: Marcellus Protest