Utica, NY Bans Shale Drilling in the Utica (and Marcellus)

It seems life in New York State is full of irony. The Marcellus Shale is named after the town of Marcellus, NY, where there is an outcropping of shale at ground level and the reason that particular shale layer was so-named. A while back the Town of Marcellus banned shale drilling. In like manner, the Utica Shale is named for Utica, NY. Tuesday night, the City of Utica Common Council banned drilling and fracking within city limits. Not that it would happen there anyway–but still, Et tu, Brute?

We find this brief reference on the blog site of the local Utica newspaper:
Continue reading

Oneida County, NY Legislators Vote on Frack Ban Wednesday

It looks like the Oneida County, NY legislature is poised to ban non-existent fracking on county-owned land in a vote scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon. In one sense, this is an empty political gesture—Gov. Cuomo hasn’t approved fracking, so there’s nothing to ban. Plus, the proposed ban would only involve county-owned land, which is a tiny fraction of all land in Oneida County. You may say, “So what if they do ban it? No big deal, right?”

Here’s why this vote is important: Energy companies take notice of these things, and if drilling ever does come to New York (as most think will happen), drillers may be inclined to skip by Oneida County if they know the political leadership there, presumably acting with the consent of the majority of the population, doesn’t want fracking. If you live in Oneida County and favor drilling, you may want to attend the vote this afternoon and make your voice heard…

Continue reading

Even Without Fracking, Some NY Water Wells are Flammable

A recent study released by the U.S. Geological Survey looks at water well contamination in New York State. The study sampled 239 wells, 12 of them located in the Mohawk Valley area of the state (Utica, NY area). At least one of the Mohawk Valley water wells has enough methane in it (28 milligrams per liter) to be flammable. Just like the faucet in the fictional movie Gasland! Just one thing: There’s no fracked natural gas wells anywhere close to that well (high volume fracking has never been allowed in the state—ever). It’s naturally-occurring methane.

Continue reading