New York has probably one of the worst compulsory integration laws in America. Moreover, the DEC has shown its willingness to use that law to force landowners into participating in gas wells against their will. Some of the best testimony at the Assembly hearing – that the DEC did not attend – was from James Bacon, representing the Croton Watershed Coalition. He explained succinctly how compulsory integration works and what can be done to prevent its likely abuse on horizontal wells by the DEC. Copy here. Plus more excellent comments on the DEC’s abortive attempt at fracking regulations.
The committee members were particularly interested in Bacon’s testimony, because he not only outlined the problems of the abuse of compulsory integration in legal and legislative terms, but he offered a solution – clarify the wording of the statute so that shale oil or gas are not considered “migratory” (in the sense that they cannot move through the rock the way conventional “pools” of oil can). This would effectively preclude a fracker from invoking compulsory integration to extend the length of a lateral under the neighbor’s property, against their will, in violation of mineral, surface and land use rights.
Good job Bacon. Good job Croton Watershed Coalition. File his compulsory integration testimony under: “We’re from the DEC and we’re here to help you.” Or at least, help you be fracked. . .