Albany County, NY Bans Fracking for 2 Years

Ever so gradually the “body count” continues to rise in New York. No, not that body count. The body count of municipalities that enact bans against fracking.

Albany County (with a high concentration of liberal Democrats, so it comes as no surprise) is the latest municipality to ban fracking—but at least this ban is confined to county-owned land:

The Albany County legislature has passed a two year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling on county owned lands.

By doing this, lawmakers say they hope to prevent land, water and air contamination that could be caused by the gas drilling method.

In two years, the legislature will revisit this issue, but for the time being, lawmakers are concerned that there are too many questions left unanswered when it comes to hydrofracking.

"I don’t think we have all the facts yet. And I think it’s important to get the facts. Am I willing to sacrifice the possibility of jobs or temporary jobs or out of state jobs for our air, for our water, for our quality of life and our environment’s state at this point and time? Without all the facts, absolutely not,” said Albany County Legislator Chris Higgins.

Forty municipalities across the state of New York have rejected hydrofracking to date.

In two years, legislators hope the DEC will have compiled more information on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment.*

This is not an empty gesture on the part of Albany County. The Marcellus Shale does underlie about half of Albany County (see the map below)—although since the county sits at the extreme eastern edge of the Marcellus, it’s not clear whether there would be any gas worth recovering.

*YNN (Jun 11, 2012) – Albany County legislature passes two year fracking moratorium

New York Marcellus Shale Map