Bad News for NY Landowners: DEC Says Drilling Won’t Begin Until Mid-2011

NY DEC Comm. Pete Grannis MDN does not want to depress and demoralize the good citizen landowners (and drillers) of New York State, but we must share some disheartening news. It seems comments made today by New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis, the man who heads the very agency working on new rules for drilling in New York, indicate drilling in New York State will not begin until spring or summer 2011.

As part of an Earth Day speech at Onondaga Lake near Syracuse, Grannis made some revealing comments:

Grannis predicted the DEC will finish drafting regulations that companies will have to follow to receive drilling permits by fall. He said he expects drilling to begin by spring or summer 2011.*

Why is it bad for landowners and drillers? The longer we go without drilling, the more likely it simply won’t happen at all—ever. In addition, every month that passes with no drilling in New York means thousands of more jobs permanently relocated to other states in the Marcellus Shale, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where drilling is already happening. Once drilling companies decide on where to locate their headquarters and branch offices, and once other businesses like wastewater treatment plants and trucking firms get established, they almost never relocate. If those jobs and capital investments go to PA and WV, New York will never see them. A real shame.

Finally, waiting until 2011 is bad because it means the next governor of New York, likely Andrew Cuomo, will have to sign off before drilling can begin. If Cuomo is elected, it’s not at all clear whether he would be favorable to drilling. In fact, it is likely he will be opposed.

There’s still time. Landowners and concerned citizens who recognize just how important this is to New York’s future need to make their voices heard loud and clear to their elected representatives—and people like Cuomo need to understand elections may very well hinge on how they come down on the drilling debate.

It’s time to turn up the heat on the DEC—they’ve had long enough. They are intentionally delaying and stalling for political reasons—not safety reasons.

*Syracuse Post-Standard (Apr 20) – Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis says hydrofracking likely to begin in New York in spring or summer 2011