Martha Stewart’s Boy Toy in the New York state senate, Republican State Senator Greg “Goof” Ball has written an Op Ed that basically says that the Southern Tier can become “the New Texas of fracking” – by turning 6 counties into fracking experiments – conducted by the frackers. Counties that he does not actually represent. This Sacrifice Zone approach amounts to environmental gerrymandering – since Senator Ball’s district water supply enjoys special protections in the proposed dSGEIS.
If Senator is so keen on fracking, why not volunteer his own district for a good fracking ? How is it that he’s now decided that he is for the fracking regulations – when NYS doesn’t actually have any fracking regulations ?
Turning any New York counties into fracking guinea pigs is not a particularly great idea. For openers because there’s hardly anything there worth fracking – it would be a bunch of wildcat wells. As everybody in the industry knows by now. And secondly, because New York still does not have its regulatory house in order- Mainly because Senator Ball and his frack shill colleagues in the New York Senate never actually got around to passing any fracking reform bills. They were well paid to kill those bills in committee. Mainly by frackers from the original Texas.
Ball’s call to frack the Sacrifice Zone is curiously timed. Because all of the fracking reforms he refers to in his op-ed are effectively DOA. The “health study” is dead. None of the fracking reform bills were allowed to come to a vote in the state senate. The DEC has already started to “lose” comments on the dSGEIS. There still is not state severance tax. No reform of compulsory integration. No fracking regulations. Nothing. But now (?) Senator Ball thinks it’s time to experiment on counties outside his district ? Which can only mean he cut a deal with the Republican leadership in the Senate for a committee assignment. What the frack else ?
Here’s Goof Ball’s Op Ed, cribbed from a few old fracking press releases, wherein he drinks the fracking Kool Aide and jumps the Fracking Shark at the same time so he can make nice with the frackers and the Republican leadership can toss him a bone:
OP-ED FROM SENATOR GREG BALL ON FRACKING
Ball: “Five years is long enough, the Governor had it right.” Tee up some counties to be fracked.
“After the 2012 legislative session I visited Pennsylvania to see first-hand the process of high volume hydraulic fracturing and its effects on the health of the community, the environment and the economy. In Pennsylvania, a state that rushed to frack without putting the proper regulations, enforcement funding and manpower in place, the results were sometimes disastrous.
As I toured the region I met families that had their drinking water contaminated and the values of their homes drop by 90 percent, I saw former pristine natural resources that had been destroyed and natural wildlife that had been contaminated. Some in the industry suggested that most of these stories were “trumped up fabrications”, yet seeing them and speaking with the victims firsthand, I knew the concerns to be real. Quite frankly, Pennsylvania should be ashamed at how they rolled out fracking without taking the time to protect their people and their environment.”
NY Senator Ball Wants First-Hand Information
Early last week, Jerry and Denise Gee of Charleston Township received a phone call asking if they would open their home to Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Paterson) of New York State.
Senator Ball desired to see, first-hand, the effect that Marcellus Shale development has had on Pennsylvania’s landscape and citizens. He drove to Wellsboro Friday evening, August 12th, and met with the Gees for several hours at their home just off Catlin Hollow Road.
The Gees say the phone call from the senator came as a surprise because they had found out through experience that local elected officials do not have regulatory power or authority over gas companies. “Senator Ball wanted to know what our government agencies and elected officials had done after learning that we could ignite our tap water, and we told him we have reached out and are just waiting,” said Denise.
“When I returned to New York State I spearheaded the call for a moratorium so we could put the proper regulations in place, and do so without repeating the mistakes of Pennsylvania and others. During this time I drafted the “Property Owner’s Bill of Rights”, which aimed at setting tough, new standards for hydro-fracking to prevent the issues I witnessed. Since this time, we have seen hundreds of thousands of comments involving important public input and New York State has moved forward to reinforce some of the stiffest regulations in the nation.”
New York has no regulations for HVHF wells – so they can hardly be considered “the stiffest in the nation” – they don’t exist. The DEC has mooted the 220,000 comments made on the proposed fracking regulations, which went beyond their due-dat and has “lost” comments on the dSGEIS. None of those comments have been acted upon. New York has the worst compulsory integration law in the nation, is the only shale state that does not tax gas production at the state level, is one of the few states with no autonomous environmental oversight over fracking – all because Ball’s senate accomplices have killed all fracking bills – for 5 years.
“It has now been five years that New York State has maintained a virtual moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing. New York State has a track record of vigorous regulations and high environmental protection standards. As New York State moves into the fifth year since we have placed hydro-fracking on hold, I believe we are in a very unique position to do what Pennsylvania initially failed to do. While I have been the prime sponsor of legislation pushing for a moratorium, I believe it is now time to begin moving forward albeit cautiously
Over the course of several months I have met with elected officials, industry representatives and citizens from Pennsylvania, but also states like Louisiana and Texas. You do not have to search long to see many of the key factors that make Texas appealing to economic drivers and job producers from around the world. There are hundreds of factors that make Texas more open for business than New York, but their experience with the extraction of natural gas mustn’t be overlooked. For both Louisiana and Texas, natural gas is a huge job creator. As a firsthand witness to the issues experienced in Pennsylvania, I was very surprised to learn that these states simply didn’t have the devastating environmental problems that I witnessed to the north. What these states have seen is great economic development and growth, while there environmental issues and water contamination have been nearly unheard of.”
Not sure what part of Louisiana he is talking about. Shale gas development is effectively dead in the Haynesville, and Louisiana’s oil and gas industry has made it the cancer capital of the US.
As for Texas the evidence of air and water pollution is compelling;
“Let’s be frank, our friends upstate and in the Southern Tier are starving for job creation and without fracking will be left hopeless in a dying economy. In fact, a recent report by the state Comptroller’s office showed that the five counties that border the State of Pennsylvania and would benefit most from hydro-fracking, have all seen a steep sales tax revenue decline. Chemung County experienced the steepest decline at 6.4 percent.”
The notion that fracking New York is going “save” a significant number of people has been the Big Lie from Day One in New York. At most, a small minority of landowners might get some checks for a few months – after Chesapeake takes its pound of flesh. That’s about it. Very few local jobs, no state tax, and then the frackers move on.
As these struggling counties are seeing sales tax revenues decline, gas companies are seeing record profits. National Fuel Gas Co., which has holdings in the Marcellus Shale Region of Pennsylvania, said its third-quarter profits jumped by 35 percent as a result of a big jump in natural gas drilling. According to Bentek, a Colorado company that analyzes energy trends, both Pennsylvania and West Virginia have seen a 50 percent growth in natural gas production compared to last year. The report says that while the number of actual wells has declined, production has grown because of increased efficiency in drilling techniques.
Governor Cuomo has also acknowledge the great economic benefits fracking would bring to New York State. During a “Capitol Pressroom” public-radio interview Cuomo said, “every area that has participated in fracking will tell you that it’s increased commercial activity and it has an economic boost effect.”
This Governor was right when he initially spoke of a phased approach and I firmly believe it is now time for New York State to put in the proper protections and begin an incremental approach by allowing fracking in up to 6 counties. Let me also be very clear, that to do so, these protections and regulations must be backed with the funding and manpower necessary to hold the industry completely accountable.”
Accountable to what exactly ? There are no HVHF regulations, no SGEIS, no compulsory integration reform, no severance tax, no autonomous environmental oversight. Because the senate leadership has been effectively bought off by the fracking lobbyists.
“In support of the Governor’s previous proposal, I believe that we should select several test counties in the Marcellus Shale Region that have already passed resolutions in favor of fracking to begin a three-year test. After this three-year period we can allow a respected New York State university or college to do a study on the environmental, health and economic impacts. Then based on this study we can make a final decision on fracking in New York State. Let the industry put their best foot forward and be judged exactly on their merits.”
The frackers have had 5 years to put their best foot forward. Instead, their accomplices in the senate have stymied every fracking reform bill in committee. And after 4 draft dSGEIS and 3 proposed draft fracking regulations Exxon’s only HVHF well permit application in the state is by a trout stream in the Catskills. Want to judge that exactly on its merits ?
Since Ball does not actually represent an Upstate district, perhaps he’d volunteer his own district for a good fracking ? Tell him that on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
And might write a letter to that effect – to newspapers in his district:
http://www.pcnr.com/ PUTNAM COUNTY NEWSPAPER
HUDSON VALLEY REPORTER – http://hudsonvalleyreporter.