senate Bill S4276A

Enacts the "look before you leap act of 2014" to establish a 5 year moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing and the conducting of an investigation thereon

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 19 / Mar / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 24 / Mar / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 24 / Mar / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 4276A

Summary

Enacts the "look before you leap act of 2014" to establish a 5 year moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing and the conducting of an investigation thereon.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A5974A
Versions:
S4276
S4276A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Environmental Conservation
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
S6703, A6541A

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4276A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to enact the "look before you leap act of 2014"
relating to the imposition of a 5 year moratorium on high volume
hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of conducting an investigation of
the effect of hydraulic fracturing

PURPOSE: This bill seeks to place a 5 year moratorium upon hydraulic
fracturing in New York State in order to learn from the fracking
experiences of other states and particularly neighboring Pennsylvania
and requires the state university centers at Albany, Binghamton,
Buffalo and Stony Brook to conduct an investigation into the
cumulative impacts of hydraulic fracturing across the country, which
is necessitated by the exemptions granted to the oil and gas industry
from major federal environmental laws that protect our air, lands and
water.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Establishes a moratorium on hydraulic
fracturing for the extraction of natural gas or oil for a 5 year
period during which time the university research centers in New York
State shall conduct an investigation into the cumulative impacts of
this relatively new and rapidly expanding technology.

JUSTIFICATION: The relatively new drilling method known as
high-volume hydraulic fracturing or fracking carries significant
environmental risks. Among the adverse environmental impacts
associated the fracking such as heavy truck traffic, road building and
site clearing, the process itself involves drilling into the earth and
pumping millions of gallons of water under high pressure into the
ground that is mixed with sand and laced with industrial chemicals
which the industry is not legally bound to disclose. The poisonous
fluid fractures the shale and releases natural gas deposits for
collection. In addition to the chemically laden water pumped into the
drill site, highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and
radioactive elements like radium all can occur naturally thousands of
feet underground and combine with the fracking fluids to create
millions of gallons of highly salinated toxic wastewater.

Thousands of internal documents recently obtained by the New York
Times from the Environmental Protection Agency reveal that wastewater,
which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it,
is then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, containing
radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher
than the level that federal regulators say is safe for the treatment
plants to handle. The NYT reports that pressure and influence from the
gas industry and lawmakers from states that support hydro-fracking
have effectively pressured the federal government to allow the
industry unfettered growth. Despite alarming accounts reported in the
media from gas producing states across the country, the EPA has not
intervened, in large part because of the industry's exemptions and
exclusions from federal environmental protection laws.

Next door in Pennsylvania there has been a doubling of active wells
from 36,000 in 2000 to 71,000 in 2010. Governor Tom Corbett has been
quoted as saying Pennsylvania will become the next Texas of the gas
industry. He has recently given new powers to the Secretary of
Community and Economic Development that give authority to override


Environmental Protection and other agencies if he thinks they are
slowing Marcellus expansion, despite over 1400 violations of
environmental law that DEP cited against gas drillers just last year.
The NYT further reports that federal and state regulators around the
country are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling
waste not to lest for radioactivity. However, most drinking water
intake plants downstream from sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania
that accept hydrofracking wastewater have not tested for radioactivity
since before 2006, even though the drilling boom began in 2008.

Drillers in Pennsylvania trucked at least half of the wastewater to
public sewage treatment plants in 2008 and 2009 according to state
officials but some of it has been sent to other states, including New
York.

Despite the much anticipated EPA study concerning the impacts of
hydro-fracking on drinking water due out this year, recent reports by
the NYT suggest the scope of the study is being narrowed through gas
industry influence. New York State must continue to be vigilant where
questions of water quality and public health are concerned and must
have all available information before allowing a questionable practice
such as hydraulic fracturing to take place without fully knowing the
potential dangers. This legislation places a 5 year moratorium on
hydro-fracking in New York State in order to benefit from the fracking
experiences of other states and to make an independent and reasoned
evaluation of the potential benefits and adverse impacts associated
with this rapidly expanding technology.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012 S.6703.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 4276--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 19, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. LAVALLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation
  -- recommitted to  the  Committee  on  Environmental  Conservation  in
  accordance  with  Senate  Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill
  amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said  commit-
  tee

AN  ACT  to enact the "look before you leap act of 2014" relating to the
  imposition of a 5 year moratorium on high volume hydraulic  fracturing
  for  the  purpose  of  conducting  an  investigation  of the effect of
  hydraulic fracturing

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
the "look before you leap act of 2014."
  S 2. Legislative findings.  The  legislature  hereby  finds  that  the
drilling  method,  known  as  high-volume hydraulic fracturing or hydro-
fracking, carries significant environmental risks that impact land,  air
and water resources.
  The  legislature  further  finds  that  the  natural  gas industry has
exemptions or exclusions from key parts of at least seven of  the  major
federal environmental laws designed to protect air and water from radio-
active  and  hazardous  chemicals  including: the national Environmental
Policy Act; the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act;  the  Safe  Drinking
Water  Act;  the  Resource  Conservation and Recovery Act; the Superfund
Act; and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
  S 3. (a) There is hereby  established  a  5  year  moratorium  on  the
conducting  of high volume hydraulic fracturing in this state to provide
an opportunity for the state to learn from the hydrofracking experiences
of other states, which is necessitated by the exemptions, granted to the
natural gas industry, from major federal laws protecting our  air,  land
and water from radioactive and toxic wastes, and to make a comprehensive

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD09684-02-4

S. 4276--A                          2

and  cumulative examination of the environmental impacts associated with
the recent rapid expansion of hydrofracking across  the  United  States,
with  particular  emphasis  on  the  natural  gas boom that began in the
neighboring state of Pennsylvania 3 years ago, and information therefrom
shall  be available to the public concerning these cumulative impacts to
our nation's air, land and water resources.
  (b) The state university of New York  university  centers  at  Albany,
Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook shall in cooperation with each other
conduct  an  investigation  into  the  practice of high volume hydraulic
fracturing in conformance with subdivision (a) of this  section.  On  or
before  the  fifth  year  following the effective date of this act, such
university centers shall jointly issue a report of  their  findings  and
recommendations  as a result of the investigations conducted pursuant to
this section. Such report  shall  be  submitted  to  the  governor,  the
commissioner  of  environmental  conservation  and  the legislature, and
shall be published and made available to the public.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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