New York Releases Final SGEIS on Fracking
Following the December 2014 recommendation of the New York Department of Health (“DOH”) that New York not move forward with high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“HVHF”), the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) published its Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“SGEIS”) on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program on May 13, 2015. The final SGEIS includes analysis of additional data regarding both the economic impacts of HVHF and its potential environmental and health-related impacts. The final SGEIS generally considered significantly expanding upon many of the mitigation measures previously proposed in earlier drafts, including a prohibition against HVHF on private lands, an expansion of sensitive areas where HVHF would be prohibited, additional site-specific environmental assessments, and increased setback and buffer requirements. However, the SGEIS concludes that implementation of these measures would result in a significant portion of the Marcellus Shale being unavailable for HVHF operations and impose additional costs on operators, thereby impacting the potential economic benefits associated with HVHF in New York.
The DEC Commissioner will issue a legally binding “findings statement,” which is expected to call for an outright ban on HVHF, after 10 days. Read the full final SGEIS here.