Will the Fight Over Marcellus Shale Drilling in New York go Local? Legislation Pending in Albany Will Decide

MDN received an email alert from the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) concerning legislation that is actively being considered Albany (see the letter below). The legislation in question is the bill A3245 (full text here) which passed the New York Assembly on Monday, and bill S3472 (full text here), the Senate counterpart. The legislation, if passed, would give local municipalities the right to use zoning laws to dictate where drilling can and cannot happen within their borders. This is a major change in how New York governs the drilling industry—both Marcellus Shale drilling which has not yet begun, and existing oil and gas drilling. The language of the bill states:

This legislation clarifies that current local zoning law, and local zoning laws enacted in the future, will dictate where oil, gas, and solution mining is a permissible use, even with a regulatory program at the state level.

If passed, those who oppose drilling will try to influence local government boards to ban drilling within their borders using the back door of zoning ordinances. And don’t expect them to stop with Marcellus drilling. This will affect all oil and gas drilling activity in the state.

The JLCNY and other pro-drilling groups are requesting those who support drilling to call key Senators to express their desire to NOT pass the legislation. Their point: the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which has studied the drilling issue extensively, is in the best position to govern and control it. The DEC’s own regulations include safeguards against drilling operations being too close to residences or bodies of water or schools (and a myriad of other situations). There is no need for local governments to control drilling other than the power they now have with regard to roadway use, noise and light ordinances, etc.

Dear Natural Gas Supporters Everywhere,

Please circulate this to any and all pro-gas supporters as soon as you receive this.

We just learned that bill A3245 was passed in the Assembly this afternoon. This bill allows local governments to enact or enforce certain laws and ordinances to clarify the role of municipalities in governing oil, gas and solution mining development within their jurisdiction. This bill is on its way to the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee as S3472. The legislature will remain in session for at least one, and maybe two, more days. We’ve been warned that this bill may have a chance to make it through the senate!

Anti-gas opponents are calling senators repeatedly telling them to take advantage of the extended session to pass a moratorium and other anti-gas legislation such as S3472. Anti-gas protestors want S3472 passed. Their plan is to stop natural gas development by banning it at the local level, in one township after another, including your township. S3472 is what they need in order to put their plan into effect. This is a dangerous bill!

Only you can stop them, and only if you act now! Only you can let our senators know that the support for gas is stronger than the opposition.

Because of this new threat posed by S3472 we’re adding a new message to spread. Regardless of whether or not you’ve responded to our previous requests, please call the following Senators at each number listed farther below and tell them each of them the following 5 important points…

  1. Natural Gas Permitting and Regulation is best accomplished at the state level. Patchworks of banned areas, mixed requirements, and unequal protection of landowner rights resulting from emotionally based local level bans and overly restrictive ordinances should not be allowed. Maintain the DEC’s superseding role in Natural Gas Permitting and Regulation and do not pass S3472.
  2. A moratorium is not needed. There is no need to put 5,000 people out of work that has been performed safely for decades.
  3. Let the DEC do their job and release the SGEIS without further delay. Facts and Science should be controlling this process.
  4. Do not promote any legislation that would hinder the economic growth this is predicted to create. A recent report by the Manhattan Policy Institute conservatively estimates that 18,000 new jobs and $11.4 billion in economic activity will be created as a result of Marcellus development in New York by 2020.
  5. The science and history proves that the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing has been used for decades in New York with zero incidences of water well contamination or adverse health consequences.

Here are the names and numbers to call…

Albany Offices:

Sen. Libous:  518-455-2677
Sen. Grisanti: 518-455-3240
Sen. Gallivan: 518-455-3471
Sen. DeFrancisco: 518-455-3511
Sen. Bonacic: 518-455-3181
Sen. Saland: 518-455-2411
Sen. Golden: 518-455-2730
Sen. Seward: 518-455-3131
Sen. Nozzolio: 518-455-2366
Sen. McDonald: 518-455-2381

District Offices:

Sen. Libous: 607-773-8771
Sen. Grisanti: 716-854-8705
Sen. Gallivan: 716-656-8544
Sen. DeFrancisco: 315-428-7632
Sen. Bonacic: 845-344-3311
Sen. Saland: 845-463-0840
Sen. Golden: 718-238-6044
Sen. Seward: 607-432-5524
Sen. Nozzolio: 315-568-9816
Sen. McDonald: 518-274-4616

Thank you for taking this seriously and calling these Senators. We are very close to having a huge victory, but we cannot quit now before the race is over. Please keep calling.

Dan Fitzsimmons, President
Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc.

P.S. Here is a list of 8 more senators that the anti-gas callers are targeting. Feel free to call these offices as well to let these senators here our 5 messages as well.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos: 518-455-3171 and 516-766-8383
Senator James Alesi: 518-455-2015 and 585-223-1800
Senator Hugh Farley: 518-455-2181 and 518-843-2188
Senator Kemp Hannon: 518-455-2200 and 516-739-1700
Senator William Larkin: 518-455-2770 and 845-567-1270
Senator Kenneth LaValle: 518-455-3121 and 631-696-6900
Senator Carl Marcellino: 518-455-2390 and 516-922-1811
Senator George Maziarz: 518-455-2024 and 716-731-8740