Legislation to Regulate Large Water Withdrawals in NY Waterways Makes Progress

New York State’s long, ponderous, tedious road to allow Marcellus Shale drilling takes another small step forward—maybe.

Legislation that would establish a permit system for massive water withdrawals from New York’s streams and rivers is flowing through the Legislature.

The bill would give the state Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to regulate withdrawals over 100,000 gallons. It was set to pass the Assembly late Monday, according to Assembly Environmental Conservation Chair Robert Sweeney, D-Suffolk County.

His counterpart in the Senate, Buffalo Republican Mark Grisanti, said he believes his chamber will do the same "at some point soon."

DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens, who supports the bill, said it is meant to close a loophole in the state’s regulatory system, and protects the current rights.*

*Elmira Star-Gazette (May 2, 2011) – Bill to regulate water withdrawals moving through Legislature