Will NY Gov. Cuomo’s Fracking Plan be Limited to 4 Counties?

Lucky FourIs the Lucky Five counties in New York that will see drilling now the Lucky Four? You may recall a few weeks ago the New York Times, using an unnamed source inside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration (cough *Andy* cough), floated a “trial balloon” plan that will allow high volume hydraulic fracturing, i.e. fracking, for a limited number of permits in five Southern Tier counties for a two-year period: Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Steuben and Tioga (see this MDN story).

One of New York’s largest landowner coalition groups, CNY Landowner’s Coalition, represents Chenango County—one of the Lucky Five. They have reliable “inside” sources that tell them Chenango County may not be included in the limited, two-year experiment. And they are marshaling their members to make noise about it.

Below is an email received by MDN on July 3 from the CNY Landowner’s Coalition outlining the rumor they’ve heard, and what they want members to do about it.

Of particular note: Notice the kind, respectful way they aim to make their views known to state leaders, unlike the loud, raucous, and rude way anti-drillers make their views known.

July 3rd – Urgent Coalition Message
Immediate Action Required

We need you to act on behalf of your property and our coalition immediately.  At least 1,000 responses are needed from our coalition to Senator Libous and Governor Cuomo by Friday, July 6th.  We ask that you and your family members individually make this a matter you quickly care for.  Please do this immediately so you don’t forget during this busy week!

A Limited Development Plan Will Exclude Our Coalition:
Recently, the New York Times printed an article touted as a leak from the governor’s office.  The article mentioned that our state leadership was considering a plan to allow gas development in a very select region of NY state.  One county (Chenango) of our coalition was listed as a possible starting place for development.  We have since learned even that may not be the case and that the CNY Landowner’s Coalition, along with most NY coalitions, will not be in NY’s plan for initial development.

The FACTS about CNY:
The truth is that we have worked hard to have 95% of our coalition’s 200,000+ acres free of any town ban or moratorium.  Our coalition range has been the main focus of NY drilling during the time of the DEC’s four-year study (Chenango County has 58 wells in various stages of completion and 25 pending permits for shale development).  We are ripe for safe natural gas development but now politics may step in to recognize only the property rights of politically selected areas of NY’s Southerntier.

Here’s What We Must Do!
Contact Senator Libous and Governor Cuomo IMMEDIATELY!  It is critical that we RESPECTFULLY communicate the following message:

“Dear Governor Cuomo/Senator Libous:  Thank you for courageously handling the study of natural gas exploration in our State.  Your message that ‘science will dictate the debate on drilling’ has been the ethical course of action and we are confident the DEC will guide us safely through this process.  I respectfully ask that you also allow science to dictate the range of natural gas development rather than granting it to a politically selected segment of landowners.  Our gas coalition boasts over 200,000 acres, has experienced the most NY drilling these past 4 years, and has worked hard to keep it 95% free of any town ban or moratorium yet is outside of the rumored limited development zone.  The DEC will admittedly only permit what it can handle and that limitation appears sufficient, not requiring artificial political restrictions.  On behalf of the CNY Landowner’s Coalition, keep up the good work!”

Contact Information:
Senator Tom Libous:   email – [email protected]  –  Phone – 607.773.8771 – Fax – (607) 773-3688
Governor Andrew Cuomo: //www.governor.ny.gov/ContacttheGovernor (online contact form) –  Phone (518) 474-8390

Please Remember They Are Our Allies!
We are not against our Governor or Senator Libous on this issue.  They have courageously led the way for a scientific and factual discourse on drilling.  We are merely encouraging them to let science lead, not only in creating the SGEIS, but also where the gas will be safely harvested.

Back Your Town’s Support of the DEC’s Oversight of Drilling:
Lastly, it is vital that you show up to your town board meetings and vocally encourage them to craft a statement of cooperation with the DEC’s regulatory oversight of safe natural gas exploration.  It could read something like . . . “We, the town board of ______, acknowledge the oversight of the DEC, the stringent regulations of the SGEIS and the deeded property rights of our landowners and believe it best to cooperate with the DEC for the environmentally safe harvest of this resource in our region.”If your town is entertaining a resolution proposed by the JLC, it would be great to support that as well.

Have a Great 4th of July!
It is certainly symbolic that we are voicing our position this week of July 4th!  Please be grateful and respectful of our Governor and Senator as you communicate with them.  Email us when you have made the above contacts and have a great 4th of July!

On Behalf of the Steering Committee,

Brian Conover
[email protected]*

*CNY Landowner’s Coalition email (received Jul 3, 2012) – Subject: *URGENT* July 3rd Coalition Message – Action Required