Published: December 17, 2008
By: Bruce Baizel
Re: EARTHWORKS' OGAP comments on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Draft Scope for the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program
Dear Sir or Madam:
The following comments are submitted by the Oil & Gas Accountability Project, a program of EARTHWORKS, on the above referenced Draft Scope document. These comments are in addition to the comments submitted jointly by NRDC et al, which we endorse, and focus on issues not covered in those comments.
We appreciate the relative comprehensiveness of the Draft Scoping document and the specific attention to the range of likely impacts resulting from development of the Marcellus shale. We agree with the document's identification of what, in our experience across a number of states, represent the three biggest sources of impacts to soil, water and air: drilling, hauling of fluids and disposal of drilling waste.
It is our view, however, that the level of likely impact from Marcellus gas development and/or the effectiveness of any required mitigation will be at least as dependent upon the regulatory regime in place and the capacity and political will of the agency to implement that regime. In our review of the Draft Scoping document, we see no evidence that this issue has been considered or included as part of the intended analysis. Therefore, we offer the following comments for consideration as the department moves forward with the scoping process.