The Paterson administration has finally given a green light to proposed drilling in the Marcellus Shale, considered by many to be the nations largest natural-gas reservoir. Covering several states and extending more than 600 miles, the basin may contain as much as six decades worth of US natural-gas needs.
Drilling is already under way in Pennsylvania and other Marcellus states. Well over a year ago, Gov. Paterson put energy production on hold here at home so regulators could study the issue. This delay satisfied the demands of anti-drilling greens, but it denied the Empire States economy a much-needed boost.
So lets give Paterson credit, then, that his teams long-anticipated draft environmental review comes down on the side of natural-gas drilling in New York.
More than that, Paterson has rebuffed extreme environmentalists demands for a ban on drilling in the New York City watershed. Thats a real accomplishment, since one of the main groups calling for such a ban, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.s Riverkeeper, boasted in August about helping shape the state study.
Patersons report shoots down alarmist green claims that drilling in the watershed puts the citys water supply at risk. Instead it insists on sensible environmental regulations specifically tailored to hydraulic fracturing drilling -- such as extensive testing of water wells near drilling sites, disclosure of which chemicals are used to extract gas buried deep underground and strict plans for wastewater disposal.
It also demands that extra care be taken for drilling in the watershed and establishes buffer zones around its reservoirs and aqueducts. Reasonable enough. In all, the Paterson review shows that energy production and environmental protection need not be mutually exclusive.
This is good news, given the perilous state of the New York economy. A drilling boom in the New York portion of the Marcellus Shale will mean job creation. How many jobs? Hard to tell, but Pennsylvania officials think that drilling has helped create nearly 100,000 jobs in their state. Marcellus Shale activity could be worth upward of $25 billion for the Keystone State over the next decade.
The Paterson administrations regulations should be finalized shortly after a 60-day comment period ends. Natural-gas production in New Yorks portion of the Marcellus could begin early next year. It cant happen soon enough.
Original Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/nys_drill_baby_drill_s1oDGGVFqO1ScUnguB1AlM