Is New York State Understaffed to Handle Marcellus Drilling Activity?

The Ithaca Journal and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (Democrat, Endwell, NY), say that while Pennsylvania has staffed up to handle permits and oversight of drilling activities, New York remains woefully understaffed:

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection is creating 37 new positions – despite a statewide hiring freeze – to oversee Marcellus production. The positions will be added to Pennsylvania’s Office of Mineral Resources Management, which oversees nearly 600 employees who handle many issues in addition to natural gas production.

Officials in New York, however, have few answers as to how 19 employees in the Bureau of Oil & Gas Regulation – part of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation – will be able to handle a rush of permits and intensive drilling activity on this side of the border.

“Clearly, we are not staffed to do the job,” said Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo, D-Endwell.

Of course the obvious truth is this: New York is not granting any permits to drill right now. So there’s no reason to staff up to high levels just yet. Marcellus Drilling News thinks when New York finally stops dithering over what regulations they’ll impose and get around to granting permits, the state DEC will add more positions. Why pay people to sit on their rear-ends? Oh that’s right, it IS the NY government!

Read the full article: New York understaffed to handle gas rush