Bill S7167-2011

Natural gas development habitat fragmentation protection

Expands acreage relating to the natural gas development habitat fragmentation protection.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 5, 2012: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • May 1, 2012: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Environmental Conservation - Jun 5, 2012
Ayes (5): Grisanti, LaValle, Maziarz, O'Mara, Young
Ayes W/R (4): Johnson, Little, Marcellino, Oppenheimer
Nays (5): Avella, Espaillat, Perkins, Serrano, Stewart-Cousins

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7167

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the natural gas development habitat fragmentation protection

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Increases the size of spacing units with respect to horizontal drilling for natural gas in shale plays.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 provides that this act shall be known as the "natural gas development habitat fragmentation protection act of 2012."

Section 2 amends section 23-0501 of the environmental conservation law by doubling the size of spacing units from 640 acres to 1280 acres.

Section 3 provides the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Many conservation organizations have expressed concerns about the level of potential development that will be required to support natural gas production using high-volume hydraulic fracturing. This bill will significantly reduce surface impacts and habitat fragmentation while allowing more efficient recovery of natural gas within a target geologic formation.

Chapter 386 of the Laws of 2005 amended the Oil and Gas Law, which in turn was amended by Chapter 376 of the Laws of 2008. Together, those Chapters established the current statewide spacing provisions for oil and gas wells. More specifically, Chapter 376 of the Laws of 2008 amended Title 5 of the Oil and Gas Law to expand the definition of statewide spacing to address, among other things, horizontal wells in shale gas pools. At that time, statewide spacing for multi-well horizontal units in shale gas plays was established to be up to 640 acres.

Since Chapter 376 of the Laws of 2008 was enacted into law, technological advances in horizontal drilling have allowed operators to drill longer horizontal wellbores that extend beyond the current statewide spacing of 640 acres. Longer horizontal wellbores can drain up to twice the surface area (up to 1,280 acres) as allowed under current law (up to 640 acres).

Doubling the size of spacing units would remedy many of the issues raised by conservation organizations' analysis of potential habitat impacts, including those outlined in The Nature Conservancy's 2011 report "An Assessment of the Potential Impacts of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) on Forest Resources." It would result in fewer wellbores drilled and reduce the number of well pads, access

roads and pipelines. Surface impacts would be reduced by up to 50%. This will help promote contiguous habitats and mitigate potential impacts on forest, grassland and sensitive habitat areas.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to New York State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7167 IN SENATE May 1, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the natural gas development habitat fragmentation protection 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 "natural gas development habitat fragmentation protection act of 2012". S 2. Clause (vi) of subparagraph (1) of paragraph b of subdivision 1 of section 23-0501 of the environmental conservation law, as amended by chapter 376 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: (vi) For shale gas pools at any depth, for a horizontal well outside any existing spacing unit for the same formation and with a written commitment from the well operator to drill infill wells pursuant to subdivision 4 of section 23-0503 of this title, with all horizontal infill wells in the unit to be drilled from a common well pad within three years of the date the first well in the unit commences drilling, notwithstanding the ten percent tolerance specified in this subpara- graph, up to [640] 1,280 acres with the initial horizontal wellbore or wellbores within the target formation approximately centered in the spacing unit and no wellbore in the target formation less than 330 feet from any unit boundary; S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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