NY DEC Chief Says Supportive Towns More Likely to be Drilled

coin tossMDN reported earlier this week that certain key New York State senators (and others) were signaling that if/when hydraulic fracturing is allowed to go forward in the state, it may only happen in communities that support it (see this MDN story). We now have further confirmation that indeed that will likely be the case from none other than Joe Martens, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The head of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation signaled Thursday that a community’s support or opposition to hydraulic fracturing will be considered if the gas-extraction process is ultimately allowed.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said local land-use rules will "continue to be a consideration" in the permitting process for gas drilling. So far, 95 municipalities in New York have issued a ban or moratorium on hydrofracking, according to New Yorkers Against Fracking.

Conversely, it would be "easier" to issue a permit in a community that’s supportive of gas drilling, Martens said following a news conference.

"I think logically where there is less resistance and less opposition and there is not a local land-use plan in place, I think those will be easier to permit than in other places," Martens said. "That’s not to say that we’re going to prohibit them in other places, but it’s a consideration we have to carefully view."*

So what, exactly, constitutes “community support”? Lack of zoning against drilling? Lack of a ban? In every community there will be those who support and those who don’t. It may come down to a single vote on a town board whether or not that town votes to zone or ban drilling. If the majority of citizens in that town support it, but the town board does not, what will the DEC do then? Toss a coin?

If a relative few in a community make a fuss and grab headlines, will the DEC declare that community “unsupportive” and deny a permit? And what about the rights of property owners—the minority in this case? Will those rights simply get thrown under the “unsupportive” bus by the mob majority?

There’s a great deal for New York landowners to be concerned about with these statements by Martens and others with respect to their capricious attitude toward drilling. That is, if drilling happens at all.

*Ithaca Journal (Apr 27, 2012) – Local opposition to fracking will be considered, DEC chief says

  • Anonymous

    Now that’s what I call leadership!!! This guy has no (insert expletive here) CLUE!!! Martens should resign immediately. I would say with some dignity, but he has proven to have none, as well as no back bone. He is a pathetic man.

  • Anonymous

     So true Blueflames, Martens lack of leadership and decision making has made him completely ineffective.  Andy boy Cuomo better wake him up from sleeping at his desk and find a qualified replacement asap. He has been an embarrassment to the DEC. Remember he is a staunch Anti, so his lack of action is a result of his “personal”views on fracing, not what is good for the State, the economy or the people of NY. Another guy that needs to go right out the back door with Obama. Seems to be a need for a train, so many  of these ineffective politicians have to board.

  • Anonymous

    As Tom West observed, it is not clear that DEC has the power to pick and choose which wells to permit.
    ECL Article 23, §552.2 Issuance of permit
    (a) Upon determination that the application is in order and that the appropriate plugging bond is in force or proof of financial responsibility has been established as provided in section 551.3, the department shall issue as expeditiously as possible a permit to the owner or operator utilizing form OG9.
    It clearly says “shall” not “may’.  But what do I know?  I can’t understand where DEC has the power to ban drillling only in certain watersheds. 
    One thing that is clear is that once the SGEIS is finalized, we can expect further delays as these issues are sorted-out in court.

  • M Butler

    Tell me theres no corruption in Albany over this gas issue!!??   Martens is acting exactly like Al Armendariz in Texas–WANT SEE HOW TUFF I CAN BE?? Someday it will come out that he had some hidden agenda over this obvious,intentional,mind boggling hold up of the very best thing that could happen for the state of New York. In the course of history it wasnt cowards like this guy and our Governor that developed all the new technology that we now enjoy everyday. It wasnt cowards like this that developed all the new medicines,cancer treatments,vaccines ect.ect that keep our familys alive and healthier longer. It wasnt cowards like these that invented,tested and built all the amazing ways we travel now around the world. Martens would have us still living in the dark ages — it was GREAT MEN AND WOMEN that got us where we are today!!!  AMERICANS WHO WERE PROUD TO TAKE THAT NEXT STEP TO MAKE THINGS BETTER EVEN IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY–NOT GUYS LIKE MARTENS AND SADLY, SURPRISINGLY AND UNCHARACTERISTICALY GOV. CUOMO.  Lets stop talking about the enviromental issues because thats been settled behind all the closed doors in Albany  including DEC and the Gov. office,the antis meeting hall,the EPA meetings and of course the pro-gas meeting halls— they and we know it can be done safely. It now is all up to spineless politicians to play their little game and decide which way effects the votes positively or negatively the most. Believe me thats all thats left to do, and thats at a HUGE cost to the great people of NEW YORK STATE. FAMILY LEGACYS ARE BEING DECIDED BY THESE GUYS—— LETS ALL NOT FORGET THEIR NAMES ON THE NEXT ELECTION DAY!!  P.S. GOVERNOR CUOMO YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM THIS GUY— HES GONNA DRAG YOU DOWN IF YOU DONT ACT!!!

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