Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
April 10, 2012 Issue
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Governor vetoes drilling ban

By Dan Hust
ALBANY — In a move hailed and decried by both sides of the gas drilling debate, Governor David Paterson vetoed a proposed drilling moratorium but enacted another that lasts slightly longer and applies specifically to the horizontal hydrofracking process.
On Saturday, Paterson issued an executive order for the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) “to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.”
In a date likely set to coincide with the release of the DEC’s final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) updating the statewide rules on gas drilling, Paterson said his order will not allow horizontal hydrofracking drilling permits to be issued until July 1, 2011, at the earliest.
Paterson said the process must be certified safe before it’s permitted, but he vetoed a State Legislature-approved moratorium that would have banned most kinds of gas drilling in New York through May 15, 2011.
“This legislation, which was well-intentioned, would have a serious impact on our state if signed into law,” the governor countered. “Enacting this legislation would put people out of work – work that is permitted by the DEC and causes no demonstrated environmental harm – in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic.”
Nevertheless, groups like Catskill Mountainkeeper of Youngsville, which lobbied hard against drilling, called it “an amazing victory.”
Likewise, the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, a trade group, praised Paterson’s “political courage.”
Both sides, however, now plan to focus their lobbying efforts on Paterson’s successor, Andrew Cuomo, who will enter office next month.

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