Topic: New York

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Proposed Delaware River Basin fracking ban sparks legislation

On May 16, 2019, Delaware Governor John Carey, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation in support of a permanent fracking ban in the Delaware River Basin.

The Delaware River Basin is a 330-mile-long river watershed running through four states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Since 1961, the Delaware River Basin Commission (“DRBC”), a regional interstate and federal agency, has managed the basin. The governors for the four basin states and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the North Atlantic Division make up the voting members of the … Continue Reading

Delaware River Basin Commission to consider fracking ban

On Wednesday, the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to begin the rule making process that could lead to a fracking ban in parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Commission, which regulates the Delaware River watershed and is comprised of members from each of the above states and a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, now has until November 30 to draft its proposal.

The Delaware River watershed encompasses parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and provides drinking water to millions of people in the four states. It also encompasses territory rich … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals refuses to extend drilling rights

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Second Circuit) certified a question to the New York Court of Appeals (Court of Appeals) that could have provided an avenue by which an energy company could have maintained its right to drill in New York. Specifically, the company argued that New York’s decision to halt the issuance of drilling permits during its review of the environmental impact of fracking triggered a force majeure clause in a lease that extended the term of the lease.

The energy company had several oil and gas leases with landowners in Tioga County. The … Continue Reading

Fracking dominates the November ballot

One of the most highly debated issues during the November election was the question of whether localities have the authority to enact fracking bans. Several cities throughout the country have attempted to enact prohibitions against hydraulic fracturing with varying degrees of success. Denton, Texas has become one of the latest cities to consider such a ban.

On November 4th, Denton residents voted on whether the city should enact a ban against hydraulic fracturing within the city limits. The measure passed with 59 percent of Denton residents voting in favor of the measure and 41 percent voting against it. The Denton … Continue Reading

Bill proposal to prohibit entry of fracking drill cuttings waste into New York

Senator Ten O’Brien proposed a bill on Monday to prohibit landfills in New York from accepting drill cuttings waste. O’Brien, a member of the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee, voiced concerns of the potential environmental damage that could be caused by the waste. This measure is supported by groups such as the New York League of Conservation Voters.

O’Brien’s proposal is one of several proposals targeted at hydraulic fracturing waste in New York. Another proposed bill requires municipal wastewater treatment facilities to satisfy additional statutory requirements before accepting hydrofracking wastewater. Other legislation targets the transportation of hydraulic fracturing byproducts into and … Continue Reading

New York counties may ban fracking

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, recently decided that county-wide fracking bans are not barred by §23-0303(2) of New York’s Environmental Conservation Law. The law contains a supersession clause that holds that state law shall “supersede all local laws or ordinances relating to the regulation of the oil, gas and solution mining industries.”

The 5-2 court held that the supersession clause did not affect local laws that zoned where mining may or may not be conducted. Instead, it only affected local laws or ordinances that supplanted the state’s role as a regulator of operational, safety, … Continue Reading

Three-year moratorium on disposal of fracking waste in Connecticut

On May 7, 2014, the Connecticut legislature passed a three-year moratorium on the storage, treatment, disposal and transportation of all hydraulic fracturing waste within the state even though no fracking is being done and there are no facilities handling drilling waste.

Noting that this bill is “pre-emptive action,” the bi-partisan sponsors expressed concern that near-by New York state which is considering lifting its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing “could send waste to Connecticut.”

The moratorium is to allow the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to research the materials used in hydraulic fracturing and to “submit regulations to the … Continue Reading

Do state oil and gas laws trump local bans on hydraulic fracturing? Briefing continues in NY case

On August 29, 2013, New York state’s highest court agreed to hear an appeal of an order upholding a local ordinance banning all activities related to the exploration for, and production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum in the Town of Dryden, New York and affirming a lower court’s decision that certain amendments to the Town’s zoning ordinance were not preempted by the state’s Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”). Oral arguments are scheduled for June 3, 2014 (Case No. APL-2013-00245, New York State Court of Appeals).

A number of interested parties on both sides of the question … Continue Reading

EPA reviews states’ solid waste management regulations for oil and gas operations

In an April 1, 2014 memorandum, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) summarized state regulatory programs concerning the management of solid waste from oil and natural gas exploration, development and production (E&P) operations.

In reviewing each state’s regulations, the EPA focused on surface storage and disposal facilities managing produced waters, drilling muds, drilling cuttings, hydraulic fracturing return fluids, and various other waste liquids and materials intrinsically related to oil and gas E&P.

The EPA found that the state regulations were primarily concerned with the “technical requirements associated with the design, construction, operation, maintenance, closure, and reclamation of surface pits, … Continue Reading

New York landowners sue state officials over delays in hydraulic fracturing decision

In mid-2008, the New York legislature passed regulations covering high volume hydraulic fracturing. Then-governor David Patterson ordered the DEC to conduct an environmental evaluation of fracking and horizontal wells and ordered the well approval process halted until the study was completed which was anticipated to be November 2009.

A draft report was published in September 2009, but the DEC spent more than one year reviewing public comments.

In December 2010, Patterson issued an executive order requiring further environmental review. Gov. Andrew Cuomo kept the order in place when he took office.

In September 2012, the DEC and the Department of … Continue Reading

New York state sued over hydraulic fracturing moratorium

On December 17, 2013, the trustee and a shareholder for a bankrupt energy company sued New York’s governor, its Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) and other state officials, asserting that the shareholder has lost over $21 thousand due to the decrease in the value of the company’s stock and that the company has lost more than $100 million due to the hydraulic fracturing moratorium that has been in place since 2008.

The energy company has 27 well-permit applications pending before the DEC.

As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the trustee tried to sell these assets at auction, but received no … Continue Reading

Do state energy laws preempt municipal zoning ordinances banning oil and gas development?: Briefs filed in NY CASE

On May 2, 2013, a New York state appeals court issued an order upholding a local ordinance banning all activities related to the exploration for, and production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum in the Town of Dryden, New York. The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, entered on February 22, 2012, which held that certain amendments to the Town of Dryden zoning ordinance are not preempted by New York State’s Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”). New York State’s highest court (Case No. APL-2013-00245, New York State Court of Appeals) agreed to hear an appeal … Continue Reading

New York advocacy group sues Department of Health for disclosure of documents related to hydraulic fracturing

On September 13, 2013, the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, an advocacy group based in Finger Lakes, New York, sued the New York Department of Health (NYDOH), seeking the disclosure of documents related to the state’s review of hydraulic fracturing, which has been banned in New York since 2008.

The NYDOH is conducting an ongoing review of the state’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which addresses permit conditions required for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and other areas of New York, to determine whether those guidelines would adequately protect public health.

In its filing, the group, which is critical … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals to Consider Local Bans on Hydraulic Fracturing

The New York Court of Appeals has granted Norse Energy Corporation USA leave to appeal the lower court decision in Norse v. Township of Dryden, that New York municipalities have the authority to ban oil and gas development in the state. Since there was no right to appeal, in granting this leave to appeal, the court sends a strong signal that the legal issues will get a fresh look by New York’s highest court. The court also gave leave for the Washington Legal Foundation, the American Petroleum Institute, the New York Farm Bureau, and the Associated General Contractors of … Continue Reading

New York appeals court upholds local bans on hydraulic fracturing

On May 2, 2013, a New York state appeals court issued an order upholding a local ordinance banning all activities related to the exploration for, and production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum in the Town of Dryden, New York. The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, entered on February 22, 2012, which held that certain amendments to the Town of Dryden zoning ordinance are not preempted by New York State’s Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”).

The appeals court also issued an order upholding a local ordinance banning natural gas drilling in the Town of … Continue Reading

New York Assembly Approves Two-Year Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing

On March 6, 2013, the New York State Assembly voted to place a temporary moratorium on all permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing gas wells until May 2015. The bill was sponsored by Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation Chairman Kevin K. Sweeney, and would extend a de facto moratorium that has existed in New York for over four years.

The bill also calls for the State University of New York to conduct an independent health review of the effects of hydraulic fracturing.
The bill will be brought before the New York Senate and, if approved there, will be sent to New … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas Address Radioactivity Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

On January 24, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) launched a study to examine naturally occurring radiation associated with the development of oil and natural gas in the state.

DEP plans to collect samples of flowback water, rock cuttings, treatment solids and sediments at well pads and wastewater treatment and waste disposal facilities to analyze the naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in those substances.

The study will also examine radiation levels in pipes, well casings, storage tanks, treatment systems, and trucks. According to DEP, the study is expected to take 12 to 14 months. The agency will provide … Continue Reading

New York’s Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

Several New York lawmakers are holding a public hearing on January 10, 2013 to discuss the state’s high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) regulatory process.

New York's Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rules
 

New rules relating to HVHF were proposed and opened for public comment beginning November 29, 2012 through January 11, 2013.

In addition to the legislators, the League of Women Voters of New York State (LWVNY) sent a letter dated January 7, 2013 to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), questioning the feasibility of providing meaningful comments without the completion of the state-commissioned study on the health impacts of expanded gas drilling or the … Continue Reading

New York DEC “Leaks” Summary on Impact Fracking Has on Health

On January 3, 2013, a draft February 2012 report that was prepared for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) relating to potential health impacts from hydraulic fracturing was “leaked” to the news media.

The eight-page draft summary concludes that “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF [high volume hydraulic fracturing] operations” if done within the DEC’s proposed regulatory framework.

A DEC spokeswoman dismissed the draft as outdated, not reflecting the DEC’s policy, and incomplete.

This draft was probably prepared for review and inclusion in an extensive environmental impact study of the shale gas … Continue Reading

NYDEC Publishes Revised Proposed High-Volume Fracking Regulations

On Thursday, November 29, 2012, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) published revised proposed regulations relating to high-volume hydraulic fracturing (wells using more than 300,000 gallons of water as the base fluid).


The NYDEC developed these revisions and additions after receiving more than 66,000 public comments (most against hydraulic fracturing) on the original proposals that were released on September 28, 2011.

The 30-day public comment period on the revised proposed regulations begins on December 12, 2012, and allows a 90-day extension for completion of the New York Commissioner of Health’s review of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact … Continue Reading

Niagara Falls issues ban on hydraulic fracturing


On March 5, 2012, the City Council of Niagara Falls, New York, unanimously approved an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing in Niagara Falls and the storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of water generated from natural gas exploration and production activities in the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Ironically, the Marcellus Shale does not extend under the City of Niagara Falls.

Therefore, the ban on hydraulic fracturing likely will have little or no impact on natural gas drilling in the area.

However, the Niagara Falls Water Board previously had hoped to increase revenues by treating flowback and produced water generated in the … Continue Reading

Two New York State Courts Uphold Local Bans on Hydraulic Fracturing

On February 21, 2012, a New York state court issued an order upholding a local ordinance banning all activities related to the exploration for, and production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum in the Town of Dryden, New York.

In a case of first impression, the court in Anschutz Exploration Corp. v. Town of Dryden held that New York State’s Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) did not preempt local zoning authority.

The petitioner-plaintiff, Anschutz Exploration (“Anschutz”), owns gas leases covering approximately 22,200 acres in the town of Dryden in upstate New York.

On August 2, 2011, the … Continue Reading

Texas, Other States Move Forward With Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Regulations

Earlier this year, Texas became the latest state to draft regulations requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Michigan and Montana issued similar regulations over the summer, joining Arkansas, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania as states recently active in regulating hydraulic fracturing.[1] The new regulations require specific disclosures by operators and outline requirements for construction and operation of the well and continued monitoring of well activity. Three additional states, Louisiana, New York, and North Dakota, have proposed regulations open for public comment. This briefing examines recent changes and additions in hydraulic fracturing regulations throughout the country.

Texas: Public

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