Thursday, September 8, 2011

NY EIS Greenlights Marcellus Development

NY's latest draft of its environmental impact statement for Marcellus shale drilling is an exhaustive, thorough examination of all conceivable environmental impacts associated with shale drilling. It is more than one thousand pages. While I suspect only a handful of people have read every word, the EIS finds no show stoppers.

Here are some highlights:

"Accordingly, there is no likelihood of significant adverse impacts from the underground migration of fracturing fluids." Page 12.

"No significant adverse impacts are identified with regard to the disposal of liquid wastes."

NY projects an annual peak of 2,500 wells and average of 1,600 wells per year. It finds that the average land disturbance, including a multiple-well pad, access road, infrastructure will be 7 to 8 acres to produce gas from 640 acres, given horizontal drilling. NY expects 90% of Marcellus wells to be multiple-well pads with horizontal drilling.

It finds that gas drilling will require 9 billion gallons of water per YEAR at peak drilling
and that would be just a 0.24% increase in water demand for NY. Water withdrawals for all uses in NY are now 10.3 billion gallons per DAY.

The EIS proposes substantial environmental protections in all areas, including for air emissions from production equipment and methane leakage.

But New York is moving ahead, separating itself from New Jersey where a moratorium has been imposed. Comments on this EIS will now be taken. In addition formal rules will be proposed in October.

New York's economic analysis indicates Marcellus development will create approximately 55,000 jobs.


  1. NJ's moratorium is new, scheduled for 1 year, and really only a matter of political grasping. NY's is more than 3 years old, and only now coming to an end.

    But here's my question for you: Both NY and NJ sit on the DRBC. What are the forces and nuances causing that body to be so obstructive with regard to drilling? Is NY's vote the swing vote? Will Cuomo's rep cause a change in tone this fall?

  2. The 5 votes on the DRBC are PA, NJ, Delaware, NY, and the federal agencies. The populations within the DRBC area have a great many people who have many concerns about drilling, reasonable or not. I am not sure where the DRBC will go and when, given the major developments in NJ and NY. I would guess that a final decision is not right around the corner. The movements in NY and NJ may slow and not speed a final decision.