We won that battle. So relax. Take the rest of the week off. There will be plenty to do later on. Mean time, there will be no fracking “counter-attack” by the frackers. No big lawsuits. No Congressional action. Just some frak flaks whining and mouthing off. Here’s why: It’s simply not worth it to the frackers to take any more of a public caning. And they admit it publicly. Which is why there won’t be any meaningful lawsuits or legislation to challenge this.
They not only lost, but they were chided in public by Governor Cuomo: the frackers failed to make their case environmentally in New York, economically in New York or scientifically via a preponderance of the peer-reviewed studies. Babbling (Governor Cuomo’s words) about how great fracking might be in a godforsaken part of Texas or in a few counties in Pennsylvania is lost on a politician in New York, because they are not his constituents, and the geology is different.
The fracking chickenhawks are not going to stick their heads above the parapet except for some nit-picking and the odd veiled threat. There will be some predictably delusional op-eds and hair-pulling for about a week, and then Silent Night. “Nothing to frack here folks, move on.”
The threatened legal or legislative actions have no grounds in federal or state law. And Governor Cuomo’s lawyers know it. They did their homework on this one. Commissioner Martens thought it their approach through via the SGEIS, as he explains here in an interview after the announcement.
The noises you are hearing from the frackers are the death throes of a massive PR machine that is now slowly grinding to a halt for lack of funding. Sure, they will still run the TV Gas Blonde ads, the political shills in Albany will mouth the party line as paid, their accomplices in the press will chastise the Governor, and they will keep some 4th rate stringer on the down-sizedpayroll in Albany, but for all intents and purpose, it’s over for the frackers in New York and they know it. Get used to The New Unfracked Normal under Governor Cuomo. As long as Cuomo is in office and/or gas is below $8 mcf, there will be not one well fracked in New York. Enjoy that while you can. I sure will, because when gas goes above $8 mcf, a solar panel in a rain forest will be more cost effective.
Let’s take these preposterously bellicose threats in order of their comedic potential:
1. Congress is Going to Over-rule New York per Congressman Tom “Hollow” Reed on the Fred Dicker Fracking BS Show:
“GOP Rep. Tom Reed on Friday raised the possibility of the federal government exploring ways of superseding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to prohibit hydrofracking in the Southern Tier.”
Reed is a Republican (surprise) and the Federal Government would be the Obama Administration (nominally Democratic) which., per the Halliburton Loophole has zero regulatory authority over fracking. Oil and gas oversight (like casinos) is left to the States to regulate, which is why state regulations vary all over the map. The precedent for banning fracking was set by Vermont, which did so two years ago. Reed evidently did not get that memo.
“Reed, who represents the area of the state where natural gas deposits are especially rich, told Fred Dicker on Talk-1300 this morning the federal government could have the authority to overrule the ban, which will be formally put in place by the state Department of Environmental Conservation next year. Reed compared the move to a federal telecommunications measure that overrode local zoning on the placement of satellite (transmission & relay )dishes.”
The Feds, under the Interstate Commerce Act, indeed regulate the airways, which includes satellite transmission and relay dishes (not like the receiver on your house) they have zero regulatory oversight over state oil and gas regulations. A nuance that a Republican blowhard in Congress is conveniently unaware of. Particularly when he’s talking to the likes of Fred Dicker.
“So the federal government could have a role here,” Reed said. “Obviously when we talk about energy, we’re talking about our energy security and that has national implications.”
Obviously what Reed pretends to not know about state regulations of oil and gas is a lot. How shipping fracked gas to China makes America more “energy secure” is left unexplained.
“Reed, in the interview, said he wanted to see the scope of the state’s fracking prohibition. “I think it’s going to depend on how far the New York ban goes here,” Reed said.”
It’s going to prohibit HVHF wells, like it says in the dSGEIS, any well that uses over 300,000 gallons of water. Nothing more, nothing less. If you voted, for Reed, congratulations, you voted for a guy that’s as fracking dumb as a fence post.
2. The Oil and Gas Industry is Going to Sue New York Over Something They’re Not Quite Sure Of – per Karen Moreau, Semi-Pro Frak Flak Leftover, the frackers remarkably clueless lobbyist in Albany.
“Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, said her group is assessing its legal options, but said any action would likely have to wait until the DEC publishes its final report. Her group is the state affiliate of the American Petroleum Institute, a national oil-and-gas trade group. “Our legal department is looking at it,” Moreau said. “I think it’s too early to say. They’re going to look at everything here.”
And do fracking nothing about it. Don’t hold your breath on litigation from the O&G industry. Just more hot air from their spokespeople. The “ban” is not a law and the regulatory prohibition only applies to one narrowly defined class of well – that the state DOH and DEC took 6 years to decide was not environmentally viable in New York. Her cohort in fracking crime, Tom West gives the real industry answer below:
“I don’t know of anybody (ie. frackers) who cares enough about New York now to invest the money in that kind of legal fight,” West said. “We’ve been shut down for six years. Most of the industry has left. They’re not going to invest to try and turn around a political decision when they have plenty of other shale resources in other states.”
The O&G industry has finally admitted what some of us have been saying for years: there’s nothing in New York worth fracking. They were just blowing hot air.
3. The Disjointed Landowners Coalition of Central New York Will Sue The State For Fracking Reparations – per some local fracking chickenhawk
“Landowners in the Southern Tier have long threatened a “takings” lawsuit if the state banned fracking, arguing that the government’s action would dramatically reduce the value of the land. The Fifth Amendment requires governments to compensate owners if it takes property for public use.”
Won’t happen. Have blogged on this particular local fracking fairy tale many times. All such a suit does is give some Shale Shysters an excuse to milk more legal fees out of clueless dairy farmers. Good fracking luck with that.
4. TARP, NAFTA, TPP, PDQ, RSVP, OPEC or Fracking Somebody Somewhere Will Overturn :
(A.) Local zoning based on a bone fide land use plan under state law
(B.) State regulations on one type of HVHF well of over 300,000 gallons water usage (Yes, Virginia, that’s what this really is all about)
(C.) Everything we hold dear
(D.) Fracking none of the above
If you answered (D.) go to the head of the class.
It’s over for now folks. The good guys won this battle. And we won it for Pete. For that you can thank yourselves. For Pete’s sake, make a joyful sound unto the Lord; break out your banjos, your tambourines, your shotguns, your kazoos, your fine dry Finger Lake chablis with an fruity nose, robust middle and insouciant finish. Raise a fracking ruckus.
And while you’re at it thank Walter Hang, Marie McRae, The Sandra, The Bruce, The Josh, The Angela, The Incredible Hulk, Yoko, The Former Mobil Executive, Jerry Acton, Brian Brock, Larysa, Rachel, Marge, The Duchess, Keith Schue, Jill Weiner, Natalie Merchant, Maura Stephens, Mark Ohe, Liz Benjamin, Susan Arbetter, Maureen Dill, Bob Nied, Hillary Lambert, Sandra Bullock, Bill Huston, Cris McConkey, Buck Quigley, Michael Herbold, Nedra Harvey, The Pope, Clarke Rhodes, Murray Bell, you get the picture.
Oh, and, lest I forget the hand that feeds me, GAZPROM.
Stay tuned. And if your town has not already passed a frack ban and banned frack waste, by all means do so. No fracking surprises.
Mean time . . . a word from our mentor, the late great Pete Seeger, with words and music by a dirt poor Okie, who hopped freights, picked crops and never ever fracked nobody.