Chesapeake Energy Decides to Not Drill in Catskill Region of New York

Albany Times Union (Oct 29):
Gas company backs off drilling

There is an important lesson to be learned today: Anti-drilling groups will not be satisfied until there is zero drilling anywhere. This truth is now on full display for all to see. An article in today’s Albany Times Union trumpets the announcement that Chesapeake Energy, sole leaseholder of rights to drill in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York (with 5,000 acres), has decided not to drill in that area.

The Catskill region feeds and contains water resevoirs for New York City. The City is dependent on the water from that region of upstate. This fact is being used as a weapon by anti-drillers to stoke fears that the water supply for nine million people would be poluted if there’s any drilling in or near that area. So Chesapeake decided to remove that objection from the table by announcing they would voluntarily commit to not drilling in the watershed area.

So what do the anti-drillers do? Rejoice…dancing in the streets…express gratitude to Chesapeake? Not on your life. Here’s their response:

“One company’s voluntary moratorium on drilling at this point is no substitute for a thorough analysis by the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health to determine the catastrophic potential of drilling into the watershed and in adjacent communities,” said Michael Saucier, a spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Protection.

And this:

“We’re calling on Chesapeake Energy to back up this promise by transferring its leases to the city of New York for the price of $1. After the transfer, the state should ban drilling in the New York City watershed,” said Deborah Goldberg, a managing attorney with EarthJustice, an environmental lobbying group.

And finally, this precious piece of logic:

“When the gas drilling industry says it won’t drill within the source of drinking water for nine million people, it sends a strong message to state regulators that this activity is inappropriate,” said James L. Simpson, Staff Attorney with Riverkeeper.

So, don’t do what the anti-drillers want and your Satan himself. Do what they want, and you’re still Satan himself. Let this be a lesson to all drilling companies and landowners: No compromise with the anti-drillers. Their objective is to shut you down permanently. Stick up for your rights. We still (for now) live in a free country with private property rights. Thank God for the Constitution! Exercise your rights before they’re gone.

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