Moratorium – The Real Deal?


Horizontally drilled, high-volume hydrofracturing (HD/HVHF) in shales has been under de facto moratorium since 2008, when the DEC was ordered to take testimony on the impacts of that proposed technology. Until the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) is produced (probably late spring 2011) that de facto moratorium is already in place.

The current moratorium legislation extends that coverage, by law, to vertically-drilled, low-volume fracturing in shales.

Where things stand:

What the legislation does

suspends until May 15, the issuance of new permits for the drilling of a well which utilizes the practice of hydraulic fracturing in low permeability natural gas reservoirs, such as the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

applies to nine (9) wells in the whole state for which permit applications have already been filed, and that aren’t covered by the SGEIS de facto moratorium.

What the legislation does not do

does not prevent drilling of wells already permitted, or which will be permitted before the promulgation of the law following the governor’s signature, if it is forthcoming – seven (7) so far.

does not prevent new permit applications from being filed with the DEC, nor prevent the DEC from processing those and existing applications.

does not suspend the issuance of permits in non-shale formations – sandstones and limestones – which have constituted the bulk of the well drilling to date.

does not prevent the refracking of already-drilled wells.


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