Two weeks ago, the landowners coalition sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo demanding the release of the environmental impact study on hydrofracking, known as the SGEIS . The deadline was Thursday, February 13 and Scott Kurkoski, a lawyer for the coalition, filed the promised lawsuit the following day.
“Is he in favor of this or not? Because the rest of the nation is moving forward in a way that is providing energy independence," Kurkoski said. "Is New York a threat to that process?”
Craig Stevens speaks at a public information session on natural gas storage. Attendees gave lengthy and heated comments, despite requests for questions only.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
Anti-fracking activists are also fighting New York’s efforts to lift a ban on small natural gas storage and fueling facilities. A public information session on the matter held in Syracuse on Wednesday became about the larger natural gas industry.
New York is the only state to ban small-scale natural gas storage. That came after a 1970s facility accident in New York City. Now, under efforts from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, new fueling stations for trucks could be built as early as next year.
New York’s top court has been asked to decide whether local governments can ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
Last month a mid-level appeals court ruled unanimously in favor of upholding local bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, meaning there’s no requirement for the case to be taken up by the top court.
In two separate rulings Thursday, New York's appellate court, the state's second highest court, ruled that the state's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) does not preempt municipal land use laws.
Supporters gather to celebrate the activists' release from jail
Credit Sidsel Overgaard
Three opponents of a proposed gas storage facility near Seneca Lake were released from jail early Thursday. The activists were sentenced to fifteen days after trespassing on property owned by Inergy Corporation, but were released after about a week. Inergy is seeking approval to store millions of barrels of butane and propane in an old salt cavern near Watkins Glen.
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Horizontal hydro-fracking has transformed the energy market. Drillers get natural gas out of the ground by drilling down, then sideways, using water pressure to unlock energy - natural gas. But for all the money coming out of the ground in some places, the technique is contentious and New York does not allow it; which causes landowners to feel they're being left behind.
A 90-day extension of the rulemaking process is widely viewed as the last step before New York makes its final decision on hydrofracking.
Credit Matt Richmond / WSKG
For those on the pro-fracking side, the newest regulations are both a good sign and a troubling one. On the one hand, they're a light at the end of the tunnel, proof that permits for hydrofracking aren’t far off. But, on the other hand, fracking supporters say that the Department of Environmental Conservation has only answered the concerns of the anti-fracking lobby.