hydrofracking

Gas storage contoversy continues to simmer

Jul 22, 2013
David Chanatry/NY Reporting Project

It’s something few people think about, but all that natural gas --and other fossil fuels -- produced by hydrofracking has to be stored somewhere before it gets to the consumer. Often used for the job: underground salt caverns like the ones near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. Now an out-of-state company wants to expand storage there, a plan some local residents call risky. 

About 100 environmental activists welcomed three of their own with singing that sounded like it was straight out of the civil rights movement last April, after they spent a week in jail.

A coalition of gun rights advocates and others are forming a new political movement to get what they say are disaffected and disenfranchised New Yorkers to vote.

Monday night brought the TV premiere of "Gasland II," a sequel to the original anti-hydrofracking movie. In New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision on fracking is still on hold, both opponents and supporters of the controversial drilling process say the films have helped frame the debate.

"Gasland" filmmaker Josh Fox is a frequent participant in anti-fracking rallies at the state Capitol that routinely attract hundreds of people.  

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.

Screenshot / Millennium Pipeline Company

An energy company is looking into building a natural gas pipeline from near Binghamton to the Syracuse area. Millennium Pipeline Company is currently soliciting feedback from natural gas suppliers about their proposal to connect three supply lines running east-west across upstate New York, with a north-south line.

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New York’s second highest court upheld the right for two municipalities to ban gas drilling last week. But, that decision won’t deter gas and oil producer Lenape Resources from appealing a similar ban in the upstate community of Avon.

Court upholds 'home rule' over drilling laws

May 2, 2013
Marie Cusick / Innovation Trail

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.

Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

The City of Elmira is just seven miles from the Pennsylvania border. And for four years, the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier crossed over the border and boosted Elmira’s economy. But that boom has slowed down.

Matt Richmond / WSKG

When philosophy professor Mike Gorr and his wife were looking for a place to retire, they took a trip from Illinois to the Finger Lakes region.

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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Gas and Oil producer Lenape Resources has filed a note of appeal as part of an attempt to overturn a court decision made in March that allowed the town of Avon to maintain its moratorium on fracking. This is the third case of this kind in upstate New York.

Opponents of hydrofracking are charging there’s a potential conflict of interest with a consultant to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental agency. They are asking that the years-long review of fracking in New York state be restarted. The controversy caused the consultant in question to sever all ties with a gas industry lobby group.

On Earth Day lobby day at the state Capitol, whether or not to allow hydrofracking in New York continues to be the dominant issue.

WBFO

A coalition of farmers and foodies are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York state right away. Groups across the state are expected to meet throughout the week to alert the public to the risks they believe fracking poses to the state’s agricultural viability.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner is expected to release a health report on hydraulic fracturing soon, at least according to a timetable announced in late February. But the Cuomo administration has already missed several deadlines on fracking.

Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

People packed into the high school auditorium in Hinesburg, Vt. last week, to voice their opinions on a proposed natural gas pipeline before the Vermont Public Service Board.

Matt Richmond / WSKG

Oral arguments were completed Thursday in the case that will decide whether New York towns have the right to ban gas drilling. The case comes down to how the panel of four judges will interpret a single sentence.

CREDO.fracking / Flickr

The town of Avon has become the third community in upstate New York to win a court case over the right to ban fracking operations.

Fracking Rule Delays Rile New Yorkers

Mar 20, 2013

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

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 number of protestors were arrested for blockading the entrance to a natural gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes region early Monday.

The New York State Assembly has approved, by a 95 to 40 vote, a two-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. While it’s unlikely to be passed in the Senate, the action reflects state lawmakers' growing worries about potential health impacts from the natural gas drilling process. 

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

As the controversy over hydrofracking drags on in New York state, opponents of the drilling method are trying to get more college students involved in the debate.  NYPIRG project coordinator Nicole Saint James is recruiting students at Syracuse University to help put more pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a tough choice as he continues to ponder the decision on whether to allow hydro fracking in New York, and it seems there’s no easy way to win for the governor.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is one of the sponsors of a bill to ban fracking in New York state at least until May of next year.

The Broome County Legislature recently approved a new Office of Energy Development, but the purpose of the office is not clear.

Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

At a public meeting in Hinesburg, Vt. last month, residents crowded into the town hall to ask questions about a natural gas pipeline that might be going through their community.  

Mark Ames wasn’t too happy. "I’m not interested in having a gas line either through in front of my house, 20 feet in front of my house, or behind my house, through my fields," he said.

Marie Cusick/Innovation Trail

On Tuesday, New York state officials announced another delay of their final decision on hydrofracking. The Department of Environmental Conservation will wait for a report on the health protections in its environmental review of fracking. Then the environmental review can be completed. The delay could be less than a month or it could be much longer. But one thing is clear - the delayed health review is now the key factor in deciding whether or not fracking will go ahead in New York.

A February deadline on New York’s process to allow hydrofracking will be missed, with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Health Commissioner now saying he needs more time to complete an on-going health study.

As they await Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision on whether fracking will go forward in New York, dueling pro- and anti-fracking filmmakers held screenings and promotions for their films in Albany. At one point in their visit, the two sides confronted each other in the halls of the Capitol.

DEC may miss deadline for fracking regulations

Feb 4, 2013
Matt Ryan/WMHT

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens suggested Monday that the state may miss a February 27 deadline to complete its proposed fracking regulations. And that could stall a decision on gas drilling for months.

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