Friday, October 30, 2009

Fight Over Shale Gas Drilling Not Over

The New York Times

October 30, 2009, 8:03 am

"Two days ago, my colleague Clifford Krauss and I wrote about Chesapeake Energy’s decision not to drill in the New York watershed — the environmentally sensitive region that supplies unfiltered water to nine million people.


The announcement was greeted with a sigh of relief from local politicians and environmental groups, who feared the impact of industrial drilling on New York’s drinking water.

“It has become increasingly clear to us over the past few months that the concern for drilling in the watershed has become a needless distraction,” Chesapeake said in a statement after our story ran.

The fight, however, is not over.

Many groups quickly pointed out that the company’s pledge does not lift the risk of future drilling in the watershed. Some groups suggested that Chesapeake should transfer its leases to the City of New York and are calling for the state to issue an outright ban to drilling in the watershed.

“That way, we can make sure this protection is permanent,” Deborah Goldberg, from Earthjustice, said in a statement. “Otherwise, these leases could be sold to other drilling companies that won’t keep the promise.”

The debate has also shifted to the state’s proposed new regulations for the development of natural gas from a geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which runs from New York to Tennessee. The New York watershed only covers 4 percent of the state. That leaves plenty of room for drilling elsewhere.

Last month, the state’s environmental agency issued its proposed guidelines for the new technology used to extract gas from the shale rock, called hydraulic fracturing." More>>>>

See related post:

Gas Company Won’t Drill in New York City’s Watershed

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