Fracking in New York

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Fracking in New York
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Fracking in New York depends on available energy resources, the location of these resources, applicable laws and regulations, politics, and the power of environmental and industry groups. Decisions by policymakers and citizens, including state and local governments and ballot initiatives, affect if and how fracking occurs in a state.

Current events

On December 17, 2014 New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his administration would ban fracking in New York State. Previous to this ban, a statewide moratorium was in place, pending the release of a study on the potential impacts of fracking on human health. According to The New York Times the study concluded that fracking "could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks."[2][3][4]

Opponents of fracking applauded Cuomo's decision. Previous to the ban, opponents had cited concerns over the possibility of fracking harming the state's water resources, and negatively impacting tourism and quality of life. Proponents of fracking argued that the oil and natural gas extraction technique could have reinvigorated the economically depressed communities located above the Marcellus Shale, a natural gas-rich formation that lies below parts of Pennsylvania, New York State and West Virginia.[2]

In June 2014, the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, ruled that cities and towns in New York have the right to block fracking within their borders, maintaining that the state's applicable laws do not "preempt the home-rule authority to regulate land use." Linda Lavine, a member of one of the town boards involved in the case, said, "This is simply a victory for local control. It is a victory for liberals and conservatives of all sorts. It is what democracy is all about." Frank Macchiarola, an executive at America's Natural Gas Alliance (an industry advocacy group), said, "A regime where you essentially have local control of the process at the township level is a challenge and is more problematic for companies than if you had a statewide program. The regulatory structure at the state level is substantially better for a number of reasons."[3][4]

For information on proposed fracking legislation in New York see here.

Fracking background

See also: Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.

Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.

Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political trade-offs.

Fracking-related legislation


On January 16, 2015, New York State Assembly member Walter Mosley (D) introduced legislation that would prohibit the sale or use of waste generated during the fracking process within the state. This legislation also would require the Department of Conservation to create rules regarding the disposal of fracking waste products. A similar bill (S 3863) was introduced into the New York State Senate on February 20, 2015.[5][6][7][8]

On February 10, 2015, Barbara Lifton (D) introduced A 5033, an amendment to the Natural Gas Exploration and Extraction Liability Act of 2015, in the New York State Assembly. The bill has 12 Democratic cosponsors. This bill would make landowners who lease their lands for oil or natural gas exploration liable for any damage resulting from the "exploration, operation, transportation or extraction" of natural gas. A similar bill (S 3862) was introduced into the New York State Senate on February 20, 2015.[9][10][11]

Natural gas use in New York

For more information on energy consumption in New York, see "Energy policy in New York"

About one-third of New York's total energy consumed goes to the commercial sector. The residential sector is next largest consumer, followed by the transportation sector. The smallest consumer of energy in New York is the industrial sector.[1][12]

Over half the homes in New York use natural gas as their main heating source, which is more than the national average. About 27 percent of homes use fuel oil, which is derived from petroleum. This figure is a great deal higher than the national average for fuel oil use, which is about six percent. New York residents use electricity to heat their homes at a much lower rate (only about 10 percent), compared to a national average of 35.4 percent.[1]

Consumption of energy for heating homes in New York
Source New York 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 55.8% 49.5%
Fuel oil 27.5% 6.5%
Electricity 9.8% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 3.1% 5%
Other/none 3.6% 3.6%

There are 19 natural gas utilities in New York, most of which are owned and run through local governments.[13]

Where electricity comes from in New York[14]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 19 0.18% 0%
Natural gas-fired 3,558 34.32% 0%
Coal-fired 201 1.94% 0%
Nuclear 3,992 38.51% 0%
Hydroelectric 2,005 19.34% 0%
Other renewables 513 4.95% 0%
Total net electricity generation 10,367 100% 0%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

News items

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See also

External links