Comments from NY DEC Joe Martens on Timing of New Drilling Regulations – And an MDN Prediction

Drilling in the Marcellus Shale in New York State has been on hold now for more than two years. Last year, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) issued new draft guidelines for drilling, but fierce opposition arose from some, including powerful people in the state like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and so the DEC retreated from its plan to move forward. Then-Gov. David Paterson issued an executive order late last year placing a moratorium on drilling until June 1 of this year to give the DEC more time.

Since the Paterson moratorium went into effect, New York has installed a new governor (Andrew Cuomo), and a new head of the DEC (Joe Martens). As MDN has chronicled, Mr. Martens was a loud voice against drilling before he was appointed to head the DEC (see here). He now seems to be singing a different tune and has made noises about moving forward with drilling. A few weeks ago in an interview with National Public Radio, he said that the new Marcellus Shale drilling regulations should  be ready sometime “this summer,” giving new hope to landowners in the state.

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Obama Talks about Shale Gas in Energy Speech – MDN Analyzes His Remarks & His New Energy Plan

In a speech on Wednesday delivered at Georgetown University, President Obama outlined his Administration’s “Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future” (download a PDF copy of the Blueprint here). While a good deal of Obama’s solutions to America’s energy needs uses the heavy hand of the federal government to limit freedom and force people to make certain choices, he at least pays lip service to shale gas. Early on in his speech he said this:

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PA DEP Says Chesapeake Energy’s Mismanagement of Gas Liquids Led to Fire in Washington County

After a full investigation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) has found that an explosion and fire in Avella (Washington County), PA (see this MDN article) was due to mismanagement of natural gas liquids. According to the DEP, Chesapeake Energy, who owns and manages the well and storage site, did not follow industry standard practices in their handling of natural gas liquids. The liquids or “condensate” are a by-product produced by some Marcellus gas wells.

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