MDN Weekly Update – Jan 15, 2012: Drilling in NY?

poll resultsLast week’s MDN poll asked if it’s now time to force the issue with New York’s DEC by suing the state to force them to release drilling regulations and allow fracking to begin. A surprising number of MDN readers think it is time to sue. 

Is it time for NY landowners & drilling supporters to sue NY state to allow drilling to begin?

Yes (78%, 233 Votes)
No (17%, 50 Votes)
Not sure (5%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 300

This Week’s Poll: Drilling in NY – When?

Wednesday of this past week saw the “final” deadline to file comments with New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on proposed new drilling regulations, called the SGEIS (see this MDN story). According to Joe Martens, Commissioner of the DEC, it will take as much as five months to analyze and respond to the all of the comments received. And he said that about a month ago when there were fewer than 20,000 comments. The final number of comments that were filed by Wednesday midnight turned out to be more than 40,000, including a 26-page critique by none other than the federal EPA (see this story).

In June 2011 MDN conducted a poll asking readers when they thought horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale would begin in New York. At that point, the year 2011 was one of the choices and 19 percent of intrepid MDN readers picked it (see this recap of the voting). Now that the final final final DEC comment period is over (pretty soon we’ll need to use exponents after the word “final” to denote how many times it’s been called final), it’s time to ask readers once again to prognosticate on when they believe drilling will begin. Will it be 2012? 2013? Never? Register your vote on the right-hand side of any page.

Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus-related events for the next two weeks.

Happy reading,
Jim Willis, Editor

P.S. MDN is working on a new permits report that will be published soon. Keep watching MDN for details in the coming weeks. This new report is better than the last by orders of magnitude!

Five Most Viewed Stories This Past Week (Jan 8th – Jan 14th)

  1. Fracking Fluid Spill in Bradford PA Result of Sabotage (1/11/12)
  2. Exxon Buys 13,200 Acres of Utica Shale Leases in Ohio (1/9/12)
  3. Teamsters Marcellus Pipeline Workers Walk Out on Strike (1/4/12)
  4. White House Credits Marcellus & Fracking for Economic Boom (1/12/12)
  5. Correction: Exxon Buys 25K Acres of Utica Shale Leases in OH (1/11/12)

Five Most Viewed Stories Last 30 Days (Dec 15th – Jan 14th)

  1. Teamsters Marcellus Pipeline Workers Walk Out on Strike (1/4/12)
  2. Ohio Offers Shell Cracker Plant $1.4B in Tax Incentives (1/2/12)
  3. WV Has New Marcellus Drilling Law in Record Time (12/15/11)
  4. Major Discovery – Chesapeake Energy Strikes Oil (and Gas) in Ohio’s Utica Shale (7/29/11)
  5. Chesapeake’s Utica Shale Mystery JV Partner Revealed (1/3/12)

MDN Calendar (Jan 15th – Jan 28th)


New York



West Virginia



  • Anonymous

    Jim, Now you have the opinions of your readers ” Overwhelming” vote of lets move forward with a suit. I would like to join, help start,do what ever I can to get the ball rolling on one. Do you have any idea why the N.Y. Landowner Associations/ JCLNY  have not gotten together to start  a lawsuit? Is it still premature ? Is there still a glimmer of hope here or are we all just sleeping? Its obvious Martens plans of postponing drilling with all the nonsense delay tactics is working for the Cuomo administration. Andy did not even mention drilling in his last video bullcrap jobs speech. DEC is not hiring to anticipate any influx of Well permitting, so looks pretty poor that anything would happen in 2012. We need to start NOW!! If all the PRO/ landowner readers on this site are willing to give $100.00 towards filing the suit, we would have enough money to get it at least in the courts system. Other people and maybe these landowner associations would later join in and help fund it,as the news spreads. It will take two to three years,with the normal NY system delays and postponements, but at least we will know that in the end our rights as Landowners would be protected. The Liberals, Andy  and Martens will be gone by then. They have succeeded in what they set out to do, cater to the special interests groups at the cost of all NY’ers and the country. Jim its time to act, you have the tools to reach out to your readers.                      

  • bittersweet590

    Here we go again with polling.  Let’s face it, it’s human nature to have a self-serving agenda and these polls are no different. You can make any poll say what you want it to say by going to the  people who share one’s belief. When you have a pro-drilling website its respondents are going to be mostly pro-drilling.  So what does a poll say in this situation?  That most pro-drillers want to sue the state.

  • Jim Willis

    I appreciate your vote of confidence! I suspect the JLCNY will say now is not the right time, that they want to work with the DEC to get the SGEIS released–at least that’s my guess. And perhaps that’s the right approach.

    I am personally not confident that the DEC will release a final SGEIS any time soon. As I’ve said, I see delay tactics all along the way in an effort to let anti-sentiment build up steam. The real question is: How can we know when the process is not advancing–that it’s just stopped and won’t go any further? Some others think it’s too early to declare that–they say we need to give the process a chance. My thought is: But what is the thing that will trigger us into action? If we lose yet another year, as it now appears we might, will it then be too late? I don’t know!

    My advice: Let’s give it at least a few more months–but set a deadline. If we don’t have final release by X (maybe June or July?) then it’s time for litigation. I’d like to know what landowners think–chime in with your comments. I personally do not have a stake in this fight–other than I believe drilling can and should begin now, that it can be done safely. But if drilling did begin, it would in no way benefit me personally–I’m not a landowner with enough land to be of any interest to drilling companies (2/3 of one acre!). I’m not the one to initiate a lawsuit as I don’t have a “vested interest.” But I can certainly lend my support should landowners decide it’s time to initiate such a lawsuit.

  • Jim Willis

    True enough–that if a group of people who are mostly of the same opinion are reading, stands to reason the poll results will reflect that. And no doubt that’s the case with MDN, which is why I always say “this is a poll of MDN readers”. I’m not attempting to say it represents the larger population–so I’m not quite sure why you take issue with it.

    I make no pretense that this site is “balanced” in its coverage, although I would argue it’s far more balanced than so-called mainstream media sites, like the NYT (who don’t have the guts to admit their bias). MDN polls its readers, who are by and large in favor of drilling. No mystery there, and no hidden agenda.

    And I’m happy to have at least one reader on the other side of the isle. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  • Anonymous

     Just like Binghamton vote did !!, just pisses you all off doesn’t it ?When there is a vote  by biased “individuals” especially when you feel that it does not reflect the general public’s opinion. So, bittersweet590, there are plenty of Anti sites that will make you feel better to rant on, and get atta boys on, not this one.Go “occupy” space somewhere else you’ll get no sympathy on this site,especially from me.

  • Anonymous

    What some of these folks seem not to understand is that it can still be drilled and produced without frac work being done. The downside to it is we will have ten times the rigs and rigsites up here. The whole point of drilling these horizontal wells  and fracing them is that it’s much less invasive to the environment. Less land has to be cleared, fewer wells hae to be drilled, and you actually cut through thousands more feet of the producable zone with horizontal wells. I guess we could go back to the old way of doing things and before long the northeast would look like west texas with a wellhead and pumpjack as close together as they could get them. In reality though it is only as matter of time before we drill it. And those that oppose it and make it more expensive to drill will only push the price of natural gas up. Fine by me as it just provides me with more job security.

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