Up to 30 percent of Finger Lakes land leased by gas firms

Jul 18, 2011

At the Ithaca Journal, G. Jeffrey Aaron reports that about 30 percent of parcels in the Finger Lakes region had gas leases on them between 2005 and 2010:

To demonstrate the potential impact that widespread high-volume fracking may have on New York's agri-businesses, tourism and wine industries, the organization collected data on the amount of land under lease in the Finger Lakes region. The results of its survey were released earlier this month.

"The energy industry says jobs will come, but we want to see what will be lost," [Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne] Esposito said.

"Part of the environmental impact statement is to evaluate the cumulative impact on a region, but the Department of Environmental Conservation said it had no idea on the number of leases in the Finger Lakes region and they didn't have the resources to obtain the information," she said.

Air quality concerns

Threats to air quality could be as big a problem with hydrofracking as concerns about water quality, reports Steve Orr at the Democrat and Chronicle.  The Citizens Environmental Coalition says testing from Colorado and New Mexico fracking sites show high levels of chemicals in the air:

"This gives us a clue there's a serious problem," said Barbara Warren, executive director of the Albany-based Citizens Environmental Coalition, who said proposed state guidelines don't appear robust enough.


Mike Benard, who writes the eminent domain blog Spectra Energy Watch, has an essay in the Democrat and Chronicle in which he argues that natural gas industry commitments to safety are "platitudes:"

...the Marcellus Shale Coalition announced its "guiding principles" with much fanfare last October. The coalition includes 40 U.S. and international energy companies, such as Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources and XTO Energy (ExxonMobil).

The guiding principles state: "... we not only embrace these principles, we live by them each and every day. This will be our legacy." Go to marcelluscoalition.org and click on "About," then "Guiding Principles."

But the coalition declines to respond to questions that ask whether the second guiding principle about "state-of-the-art environmental protection" means industry members use pneumatic "no bleed" valves to prevent fugitive emissions, and use closed- loop systems to eliminate plastic lined holding pits for drilling waste, and recycle the flowback frac water.

Want more energy news from the Innovation Trail?  Subscribe to the feed.