EARTHblog » Nadia Steinzor
December 11, 2014
This week, New York State’s Comptroller issued a report examining the work of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in an era of budget cutbacks. The conclusion: “The combination of increased responsibilities, reduced staffing, and ongoing fiscal pressure raises questions regarding the DEC’s capacity to carry out its critical functions.”
Specifically, DEC funding is down over 15 percent since 2008 and new responsibilities haven’t come with new staff and resources. DEC is being forced to do more with less—and this in a state with a de facto moratorium on shale gas development.
December 10, 2014
In the early days of the shale gas and oil boom, communities were often caught off guard by the onslaught of activity. Geoscientist David Hughes sums up the phenomenon: the shale play lifecycle starts with “discovery followed by leasing frenzy.”
Fortunately, many communities and organizations have caught up fast. Landowners who were “fleased” are educating others to avoid similar problems. Municipalities and states have passed hundreds of measures to restrict drilling. The health, environmental, and social risks of oil and gas development are being researched and documented.
Even better, some residents and local and regional groups quickly realized the importance of coming out swinging in their own defense. Virginia provides a key, inspiring example.