The Times Herald-Record is right, I have set a high standard on the issue of gas drilling. Nothing should compromise the integrity of our water.
Gas drilling can create thousands of jobs in New York, and can also bring millions of dollars in wealth to the local people in our region...but only if it is done right. Right now, the DEC, which I believe is the toughest regulator in the nation, is updating its State regulatory process, in relation to gas drilling.
I have asked the DEC to specifically:
· Support efforts to ensure that nobody can have their land drilled on (or under) without their consent;
· Ensure there are regulatory and financial guarantees, to ensure the safety of public and private water supplies;
· Protect our local communities from the financial impact on local roads and bridges that may occur if heavy drilling trucks are used on our local roads;
· Permit gas drilling only when the DEC has adequate staff to regulate it;
· Require that companies disclose the chemicals used in drilling;
· Invalidate any provision of a contract, which would prohibit a landowner from discussing their lease arrangements with gas companies;
· Ensure Clean Water Act regulations apply to all gas drilling activities.
If gas drilling proceeds in New York, I want it to proceed on our terms - focused on jobs, fair leases for landowners, and of course, the protection of our water supply and quality of our air.
Right now, the DEC tells me they do not expect to issue any gas drilling permits, at the earliest, until May 2011. I have told them that I intend to hold them accountable, on behalf of my constituents, for making sure they take the politics out of this process, and make the decisions based solely on science.
I will continue to fight to ensure that there is accountability for the regulations the State ultimately enacts on gas drilling, and fight to ensure that our private property rights, job potential, and environment are protected.
JOHN J. BONACIC