Martens Blames Other State Agencies for Delay in NY Drilling

finger pointingNow that New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens has let the cat out of the bag that Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling permits will likely not be issued in 2012, the mainstream media has come along to prop him up with excuse stories for why New York will continue to delay drilling—to give Martens political cover for the coming firestorm. The simple fact is, the longer drilling is delayed,  the more likely it will never happen—and anti-drillers know it. MDN believes these delays are by design, not an “aw shucks, things are jest turnin’ out this way” as Mr. Martens wants us to believe.

And so Gannett comes out with a story that blames other state agencies for the delay, because Martens’ hand-picked Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel, stacked with anti-drillers, wants other agencies to do its work:

An initial set of state-level proposals had originally been expected next month so it could be included in the state budget process that starts in January, but Martens said the panel would be given "all the time it needs."

The move was welcomed by most of the panel, in part because they’re still looking for critical information about what kind of resources state agencies will need to properly oversee the gas industry if high-volume hydrofracking is green-lighted in New York.

"The panel is asking a lot of very important questions," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, who sits on the committee. "One whole set of issues has to do with state resources and what agencies besides DEC are going to need to provide additional staffing and equipment, and those numbers haven’t come back to us yet."

The state Public Service Commission and Health, Transportation and Agriculture departments have all submitted less-detailed reports, which were distributed to panelists and obtained in recent weeks by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.

But while the reports gave a broad overview of the new work each agency would have to do, committee members said they need more meticulous estimates — including the number of positions needed and how much it will cost — before they can issue recommendations on how the state can pay for it.

Martens said Tuesday the agencies would be making those figures available to the panel at some point.

"Eventually, they will," Martens told reporters. "I can’t say when."

A spokesman for the state Department of Health said in an e-mail Wednesday that he "cannot provide a time" for when the agency’s estimates will be submitted.*

Perhaps most distressing is the response from one of only two drilling industry representatives that sit on the 13-member advisory panel:

Mark Boling, executive vice president of Houston-based Southwestern Energy and one of two industry representatives on the panel, said Wednesday he welcomed the DEC’s decision to slow the committee’s work down.

He said he’s not concerned about its potential to delay the state’s hydrofracking approval process.

"That’s not a concern for me at all because I think that (the DEC’s decision) is the right thing to do to make sure it gets done right," Boling said. "If we start moving on in the process and we find out that a lot of folks feel like it was not done properly because it was rushed, that doesn’t help industry or the public."*

With friends like these…

*Elmira Star-Gazette (Oct 26, 2011) – Hydrofracking panel stalled over unanswered questions

  • Anonymous

    It is a travesty that some individuals in the advisory committee and in other departments of  New York Government are intentionally trying to delay final  approval of gas drilling regulations. But there is nothing in the moratorium preventing the  use of waterless propane frackiing if the new ventless gas recovery equipment is used. The company providing this system in Canada and Texas must be persuaded to send a set of equipment to work with a driller in New York . Once some good results are obtained, the political pressure to allow more drilling will grow dramatically.

  • Anonymous

    There are only so many rigs in the US.  With natural gas south of $4 Mcf, activity of horizontal drilling and HVHF is shifting to wet gas and oil shale plays.  What is more, industry has its hands full holding onto what it has leased in PA.  Add to that the lack of infrastructure and a stack of new regulations (eventually).  Industry may be in no rush to drill in NYS, even once permitting begins.

  • Anonymous

    Joe Martens is a wolf in sheeps clothing period. As a landowner/ Voter we must vote these idiots and the idiots ( Cuomo) that appoint these idiots,out of office. The delay tactics have worked thus far and Martens/ Cuomo knew they could buy a couple more years when  lawsuits are filed. Landowners, Landowner Associations and Gas drilling companies must ban together and run these do nothings out of office. This is exactly why our economy has tanked for the last 5 years. The politicians are always in the way of progress, its the small business owners and entrepreneurs that will get this country back. The rules and regulations are set for safe extraction, we must move forward. 

  • I agree with your assessment Brian.

  • Agree 100%. In fact, when Martens was appointed in January, I said then essentially what you’re saying now, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A man who dedicated himself to preserving open spaces against any and all development for most of his adult life doesn’t suddenly change his mind. Martens is the one behind the delays.

  • Anonymous

    Exdent11 are you referring to the Canadian company named Gasfrac Energy Services, Inc.  They are the company I believe some NY landowner association groups has teamed up with.They are a small company right now with an amazing process used to extract the gas using ” No” chemicals, No water and over 95% recapture and reusable LPG ( Liquefied Petroleum Gas). No water!!, No Chemicals!! Just what the anti’s ordered. What now Mr. Martens? This company needs a grant from the big boys to become a real player out there. Hope your reading this XTO, Chesapeake,  Shell . Google this company and read their process. Very interesting and easy to follow even for the uneducated Anti’s.Hope my landowner group has the lawsuit ready to file.

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