NY Senate Votes for Marcellus Moratorium and Shocking PA Study is Reported

I am happy to note that the New York State Senate voted last week to protect New York’s drinking water by passing legislation (S.8129B, sponsored by Sen. Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo)), that will enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas until May 15, 2011.  This is good news for America’s Most Endangered River of 2010, the Upper Delaware!

The NY State Senate voted 48 to 9 in favor of temporarily haulting the process of gas drilling in the state in order to ensure protection of the environment.  Hopefully, this will give the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) the time it needs to finish its review of the impacts that hydraulic fracturing can have on water quality, stream flows, air, safety, and public health.  In addition, the delay will allow the next governor an opportunity to review the issue.

We now call on the New York State Assembly to pass companion legislation, A.11443B, sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), when it resumes business in September.

In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association just released a report stating that natural gas companies in Pennsylvania violated the law 1435 times over the past 2.5 years, including 952 violations that had or were likely to have an impact on the environment.

The most common violation was improper construction of pits that may contain toxic waste.  Yep, leaky pits.  Ugh.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be drinking leaky toxic pit water.  Sometimes when I talk about this I feel like I should really be in a sci-fi movie. 

Oh, and there were almost 1,500 additional citations and warnings for trucks hauling wastewater, which may also be toxic.  Oops!  Did I spill some toxic wastewater on your lawn?  I’m sorry… where are the paper towels? 

Other violations included improper discharge of waste, improper well casing construction, and faulty pollution prevention practices. Also, improper blow-out prevention (sound familiar?  cough BP oil spill cough). 

These are very serious violations that can endanger life, safety, drinking water, and clean air.  We need to insist that these companies do a better job protecting our water and our health!  This is unacceptable!  As a start, make sure you contact your Senators and Congressmen and tell them to pass the FRAC Act!