In an interesting development in the long fight to allow shale gas drilling in New York State, two key state senators are signaling a compromise may come in the form of, “if you want it, you can get it” with respect to fracking. That is, communities that support fracking will likely be the ones who will get it, at least at first, and maybe they will be the only ones to get it.
The latest (and third) round of water testing done by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of water wells around Dimock, PA shows (surprise!) no chemical contamination from hydraulic fracturing. All of the 16 water wells show no fracking fluids. One of the wells shows a high level of arsenic, a chemical not used by Cabot Oil & Gas during hydraulic fracturing. Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical.
Here’s the statement by the EPA upon releasing the latest round of testing last Friday:
Last December, at the eleventh hour shortly before Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan knew he would lose his all-Democrat city council and hence an opportunity to stick it to the drilling industry, Ryan forced through a vote on a measure to ban fracking within the city limits for a period of two years (see this MDN story). There’s just one problem with the ban as enacted—it isn’t legal, at least according to attorneys Robert Wedlake and Kenneth Kamlet, who have sent a letter to the city demanding they either follow the law or they’re going to court.
At the end of March, seven Pennsylvania municipalities along with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a handful of individuals filed a lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania over a newly enacted Marcellus drilling law called Act 13 (see this MDN story). The lawsuit specifically targets a measure in the new law that supersedes local zoning of oil and gas drilling with state-mandated rules. The Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, the Marcellus Shale Coalition and some state lawmakers filed to join the lawsuit on the side of the state, to help defend the new legislation (see this MDN story).
On Friday, the judge in the case denied the application to join the lawsuit:
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