No Fracking Way

Cuomo Proposes Fracking Trout

by Chip Northrup on December 8, 2012

fracking trout streamBuried in the proposed new fracking regulations is a loophole that will enable frackers to frack trout (which is almost as effective as dynamiting them), and walleye, bass, perch, what have you. The loophole allows shale gas wells to be drilled under state owned rivers and streams - which includes most of the rivers and large streams in the state. 

Shale gas wells can tunnel under most rivers and trout streams in the state. The only requirement is for the drilling rig to be on private land on the shoreline. See Fracking New York Lakes and RiversThis loophole means that shale gas wells could tunnel under most major rivers and creeks in the state, including the Delaware, Susquehanna, Hudson, Fishkill, Mohawk, Battenkill, Housatonic, Salmon, etc. And the drilling pad, the access roads, the runoff, the mud ponds, tank batteries and trucks could be right next the creek or river.

You don’t think frackers would pull such a stunt ? Think again. Exxon XTO applied for a shale gas well permit on a trout stream at the headwaters of the Delaware River as soon as the loophole was proposed:

Rivers would be contaminated and gassed more readily than lakes, since the setback is less, and on a steep creek or river bank the rig could be right above the river. Drilling gas wells is a textbook way to introduce methane and other contaminants into such bodies of water, which kills fish.

And then there is the flowback from the wells, which is briny enough to kill fish.  Open waste pits are allowed at drilling sites on any gas well except a Marcellus well. There is no “freeboard” requirement on open pits, they can be filled to the brim, hard by a trout stream. See Section 560.4 (4)

“52.2 Definitions

(2) ‘State lands’ shall mean all real property interests owned by the State of New York under the Department’s jurisdiction that are administered by the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, including but not limited to such lands designated as wildlife management areas, multiple use areas, unique areas, natural resources management areas, fishing access sites, boat launch sites, hatcheries, game farms and tidal wetlands.

The key phrase is ‘not limited to’ which would include most lakes, rivers and trout streams in New York – because the State of New York owns most of them. 

52.3 Prohibitions

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, surface disturbance associated with the drilling of a natural gas well subject to Part 560 of this Title on State lands is prohibited and no permit shall be issued authorizing such activity. This prohibition shall apply to any pre-existing leases and any new leases issued for oil and gas development on State lands. This prohibition shall not apply to subsurface access to subsurface resources located under State lands from adjacent private areas.

The loophole in the last sentence means that a driller could lease private land next to most rivers or state owned streams, drill next to it and tunnel under it.  

The trout can then be cooked with Fox Faucet Flambe The loophole should be closed and no laterals allowed under state lakes or rivers. New Yorkers need to get their priorities straight. It was one thing to poison cattle. Another to turn faucets into flamethrowers. But not sicken and kill trout.

“Senator, this fracking nonsense has finally gone too fracking far.”


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

robert west December 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

now when we fish, the fish will come out already pre-cooked. ban fracking!


Chip Northrup December 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

you will still have to light them


Liz Rosenbaum December 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

HI Chip,
Congratulations! It appears you’ve been singled out by EID:
A badge of honor in my book – you must be getting under their skin.
Liz R.,


Chip Northrup December 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

makes the kids proud of their old man. for once


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