This morning the New York DEC released proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing for review and public comment. Hydrofracking, the process used to extract gas from shale, has been controversial due to the claimed adverse environmental effects of the process.
There are three general areas of regulatory proposals:
(1) surface area disturbance of State owned lands which includes among other proposals 6NYCRR Part 52.3 which reads:
"Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, surface disturbance associated with the drilling of a natural gas well subject to Part 560 of this Title on State lands is prohibited and no permit shall be issued authorizing such activity. This prohibition shall apply to any pre-existing leases and any new leases issued for oil and gas development on State lands. This prohibition, however, does not include subsurface access to subsurface resources located under State lands from adjacent private areas."
(2)Mineral resources regulation which include permitting requirements providing in part at 6 NYCRR 553:
"Section 553.3 is revised to read:
(a) The department shall issue a permit to drill, deepen, plug back or convert a well, if all applicable requirements are met and the proposed spacing unit conforms to statewide spacing provided in section 553.1 of this Title.
( b) For wells which meet statewide spacing requirements, issuance of a permit to drill, deepen, plug back or convert by the department shall establish the spacing unit for the permitted well.
[(a)] (c) For wells exempt from statewide spacing requirements or wells that do not meet such requirements as provided in Section 553.1 of this Title, an order establishing well spacing may be promulgated by the department to[ To] promote effective development, use or conservation of the natural resources of oil and gas[, an order establishing well spacing may be promulgated by the department]."
(3) Revisions to SPDES Permit regulations including 6 NYCRR Part 750-1.1 which provides:
"High-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) operations, as defined in Section 750-3.2, require a SPDES permit in accordance with Subparts 750-1, 750-2, as well as additional provisions in Subpart 750-3. Provisions applicable to issued HVHF activities are set forth in Subpart 750-1, 750-2 as well as Sub-Part 750-3."