Paterson vetoes gas drilling moratorium, but issues temporary ban.


ALBANY – Gov. David Paterson on Saturday vetoed a bill to temporarily ban natural-gas drilling in New York, but issued an executive order to prohibit the hydraulic fracturing process until at least July 1.

In doing so, Paterson sought to find a middle ground between environmentalists concerned about the potential harm of the so-called hydrofracking and business groups critical that the moratorium bill would impact all gas drilling in the state.

Both sides praised Paterson for his decision – a rare sign of agreement in the contentious battle over natural-gas drilling.

The executive order requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation to continue its review of the effects of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale, a formation that stretches across the Southern Tier.

The order would essentially ban high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing until at least July 1, the outgoing Democratic governor said.

“We in government must always focus on protecting the well-being of those whom we represent and serve, but we also have an obligation to look to the future and protect the long-term interests for our state and its residents,” Paterson, who leaves office at month’s end, said.

Permits for hydrofracking cannot be issued until the DEC completes its Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which isn’t expected until sometime next year. As a result, Paterson has expressed doubt in recent weeks about the need for the moratorium bill, saying the state essentially has had one since the review process started in 2008.

But the Assembly passed the moratorium bill last month after the Senate did so in August, forcing it to Paterson’s desk. He had until Monday to act. The bill would have established a moratorium until May 15, but Paterson said it would have also applied to the more conventional, low-volume, vertical oil and gas wells.

Environmental groups applauded Paterson’s decision, saying he set a national precedent and provided a “timeout on horizontal wells for fracking for natural gas.”

Still, the groups cautioned that the state Legislature’s moratorium bill was stronger and urged incoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take an aggressive stance on the issue. Cuomo has said that drilling should only be allowed if it is deemed safe.

The moratorium makes New York the first state to insist on protecting the health and safety of its citizens and drinking water, before allowing drilling to proceed.

The May 15th moratorium deadline was pointless given the current pace of the DEC’s review of horizontal hydraulic fracturing and that the bill would have inadvertently suspended the issuance of new permits for vertical wells.

State Sen.-elect Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, said he supported Paterson’s veto.

“Governor Paterson’s veto is the right decision, and I credit him for recognizing that the proposed moratorium was flawed, unreasonable and unnecessary,” said State Sen.-elect Tom O’Mara, of Big Flats, NY . “It unnecessarily jeopardized jobs, revenues, and future economic opportunities for thousands of Southern Tier landowners, farmers and workers.”

“The future of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry is already undergoing a careful, deliberate, multi-year review by New York’s regulatory and scientific experts, and that’s where this future deserves to be determined. The Department of Environmental Conservation is being given ample time to ensure that environmental safety will remain the overriding priority for the industry moving forward.”

But Paterson said the bill, while well intended, would have a negative impact on the economy and prohibit drilling that “causes no demonstrated environmental harm, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic.” He added, “Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act.”

Business groups agreed, calling Paterson’s veto a “courageous” act. Brad Gill, executive director Independent Oil and Gas Association, said, “We are grateful to Governor Paterson for his courage and clear-headed judgment.”

The group estimated that the moratorium passed by the Legislature would have imperiled 300 companies in New York already drilling, along with 5,000 employees.

“This bill would have had far-reaching consequences to the state’s oil and natural gas industry, and to the communities in which our member companies work,” Gill said.

Paterson said his budget office estimated that the bill would reduce state revenues from the loss of permit fees and tax revenue amid the state’s own fiscal troubles.

Kellie M. Place “The Land Expert”

“Upstate New York’s Real Estate Development Expert”

Century 21 Chesser Realty

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About Kellie M. Place Century 21 Upstate NY

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson UPSTATE NY'S REAL ESTATE & LAND EXPERT "MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR TOP PRODUCER" Specializing in LAND, RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, MULTI-FAMILY/INVESTMENT PROPERTIES AND NATURAL GAS LAND ACQUISITIONS. VOTED "BEST of the BEST" REALTOR IN PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS! WINNER OF THE QUALITY SERVICE AWARD! HOT POINTS: Upstate NY's Real Estate Development Expert * 30 Yrs of Development/Planning Experience * Multi-Million Dollar Top Producer * 30 Yr /Chairperson of Oneonta Planning Commission * Leading Agent with Proven Results * Knowledge of Upstate NY Communities * Aggressive Marketing with International Exposure * Member Otsego County Chamber of Commerce * Proudly serving Otsego, Delaware, Chenango, Madison, Schohari and Broome Counties. My name is Kellie Place and I am a Multi-Million Dollar TOP Producer with CENTURY 21. I serve as the Chairperson of the Oneonta Planning Commission of which I have been a member for over 30 years. Having worked with developers and engineers on both sides gives me an edge above other agents in all types of real estate. Co-Founder and Director of Administration of the internationally renowned New York Summer Music Festival at Oneonta State College. Chairperson of the Mayor's Arts & Events Task Force. Executive Board Member of the Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Co-founder and Executive Director of the Calcio Soccer Club and a member of the Broome County Soccer Association. I have coached youth soccer and hockey for over 20 years. I was the recipient of the "Volunteer of the Year" Award at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Co-Founder of the grassroots organization, Oneonta Community Alliance for Youth. Serve on the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Business Action Committee as well as active in local, county and state politics. In short, an active community member that has...... "Served the Community for over 30 years!"
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