Bill S326-2013

Requires a seismological impact study related to hydrofracking

Requires a seismological impact study related to hydrofracking.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S326

TITLE OF BILL: REVISED 12/10/12 An act to require a seismological impact study related to hydrofracking

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: The purpose of this legislation is to inform the people of the State of New York of any and all potential seismological impacts posed by the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing and to provide an analysis of those impacts. Such analysis and information shall help facilitate informed decisions regarding actions to be taken with respect to such activities in the state.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill sets forth the legislative findings of the bill as described above.

Section 2 of the bill requires that pursuant to appropriation, a school of geological sciences within the State University of New York ("the school of geological sciences") shall conduct a comprehensive seismological impact assessment to examine potential geophysical impacts that may be caused by the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. A seismological impact assessment shall mean a combination of procedures, method, and tools by which a policy, program, or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the seismic activity in the surrounding area, and the potential impact in New York state.

Section 3 of the bill requires that prior to the commencement of such assessment, the school of geological sciences conducting such assessment shall prepare a scoping document that will establish the parameters of the seismological impact assessment The scoping document shall include the analysis required by this act, as well as any other analyses conducted, and shall be subject to public review, comment and revision.

Section 4 of the bill requires that such seismological assessment of the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing shall include, at a minimum, the following analyses:

a) Identification and assessment of the impact that high-volume hydraulic fracturing has on seismic activity in surrounding areas; b) Estimated costs of any seismological impacts to the state as a whole; e) Recommendations for any mitigation of potential seismic impacts and the methods and evidence used to arrive at such recommendations; and f) A long-term plan for monitoring, evaluating, tracking and mitigating potential seismic impacts.

Section 5 of the bill requires that a draft of the seismological impact assessment be released for public review and comment. The school of geological sciences conducting such assessment shall conduct a minimum of two public hearings regarding the findings of

the draft seismological impact assessment and allow at least one hundred eighty days for the public to submit comments. Upon the closing of the public comment period, the school of geological sciences shall categorize, review and respond to all public comments. If substantive changes to the seismological impact assessment are made as a result of public comments, such school of geological sciences shall issue a revised draft. Such revised draft shall similarly be subject to public comment and review, in compliance with the parameters set out for the initial draft.

Section 6 of the bill requires that after responding to all public comments as required by section 5 of this act, and upon completion of the seismological impact assessment, such school of geological sciences shall submit the completed seismological impact assessment to the department of environmental conservation. The department of environmental conservation shall make such seismological impact assessment available to the public and deliver copies to the legislature and the governor for review.

Section 7 of the bill sets forth an immediate effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

As the Governor and the Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") continue to deliberate on allowing the practice of horizontal gas drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State, it is imperative that a seismological impact assessment be completed prior to any final decision.

Recent news reports have shown that there is increasing concern across the United States that there may be serious seismic impacts from the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The state of Ohio has begun to investigate seismic events in areas where horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing has taken place. Scientists hired by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have recently determined with "95 percent certainty that the epicenters" of two earthquakes in late 2011 were within 0.8 kilometer of a hydrofracking waste water injection well. There have also been concerns raised in Texas and Arkansas where there are extensive hydrofracking operations in areas that have seen a measurable increase in earthquake activity.

Similar concerns regarding the seismic effects of hydrofracking have resulted in government investigations in Europe as well. In the fall of2011 the British Geological Survey concluded that two earthquakes were likely caused by hydrofracking operations in the vicinity of the affected areas.

As with the potential for serious health impacts, it is the state government's fundamental responsibility to refrain from permitting this industry until an analysis has been conducted on the seismic impacts of hydrofracking.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.6903

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Yet to be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 326 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. AVELLA, ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to require a seismological impact study related to hydrofracking THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The purpose of this legislation is to inform the people of the state of New York of any and all potential seismological impacts posed by the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing and to provide an analysis of those impacts. Such analysis and information shall help facilitate informed decisions regarding actions to be taken with respect to such activities in the state. S 2. Pursuant to appropriation, a school of geological sciences within the state university of New York (hereinafter "the school of geological sciences") shall conduct a comprehensive seismological impact assessment to examine potential geophysical impacts that may be caused by the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. For the purposes of this act, a "seismological impact assessment" shall mean a combination of procedures, methods, and tools by which a policy, program, or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the seismic activity in the surrounding area, and the potential impact in New York state. S 3. Prior to the commencement of such assessment, the school of geological sciences conducting such assessment shall prepare a scoping document that will establish the parameters of the seismological impact assessment. The scoping document shall include the analyses required by this act, as well as any other analyses conducted, and shall be subject to public review, comment and revision.
S 4. Such seismological assessment of the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing shall include, at a minimum, the following analyses: (a) Identification and assessment of the impact that high-volume hydraulic fracturing has on seismic activity in surrounding areas; (b) Estimated costs of any seismological impacts to the state as a whole; (c) Recommendations for any mitigation of potential seismic impacts and the methods and evidence used to arrive at such recommendations; and (d) A long-term plan for monitoring, evaluating, tracking and mitigat- ing potential seismic impacts. S 5. A draft of such seismological impact assessment shall be released for public review and comment. The school of geological sciences conducting such assessment shall conduct a minimum of two public hear- ings regarding the findings of the draft seismological impact assessment and allow at least one hundred eighty days for the public to submit comments. Upon the closing of the public comment period, such school of geological sciences shall categorize, review and respond to all public comments. If substantive changes to the seismological impact assessment are made as a result of public comments, such school of geological sciences shall issue a revised draft. Such revised draft shall similarly be subject to public comment and review, in compliance with the parame- ters set out for the initial draft. S 6. After responding to all public comments as required by section five of this act, and upon completion of the seismological impact assessment, such school of geological sciences shall submit the completed seismological impact assessment to the department of environ- mental conservation. The department of environmental conservation shall make such seismological impact assessment available to the public and deliver copies to the legislature and the governor for review. S 7. This act shall take effect immediately.

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