New York State Bans most gas Fracking for 7 Months

Both houses of the New York State legislature recently passed a bill for a 6 month moratorium on methane (natural) gas fracking.  Citizen concerns about pollution, trampling of land rights, and a groundbreaking new film Gasland have fueled a massive grassroots backlash against companies like Haliburton diving headfirst into the gas rush.

Image via the Working Families Party

The fracking moratorium bill was vetoed, but Governor David Patterson issued an executive order in its place that does a more limited version of the same thing.  The bill would have banned all wells, but the executive order only bans ‘horizontal wells’ – the kind where a drill rig drills sideways to get gas below other people’s property (and drinking water).

The plus : most wells are horizontal, so the order has a big impact.  The minus: polluted groundwater flows, so it doesn’t really matter where its contaminated.  And the fact that the legislature could send such a clear message on a moratorium and that Patterson still felt the need to ‘bend to industry pressure’ is worrisome.

This issue is far from going away anywhere, and New York is likely to continue to be a central piece of the Haliburton/gas industry strategy to open up every bit of gas to extraction.  The EPA is also conducting a 2 year study (2010-2012) on the safety of gas fracking.  Residents of New York hope that Lisa Jackson spends more time in impacted communities listening to stories of residents and less time listening to the oil companies.

1 Response to “New York State Bans most gas Fracking for 7 Months”


  1. 1 ash_anderson Dec 13th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    “And the fact that the legislature could send such a clear message on a moratorium and that Patterson still felt the need to ‘bend to industry pressure’ is worrisome.”

    You got that right, Morgan. The People are beginning to see that politically, they are no longer the source of power. There must me a serious, mainstream discussion about the corporate subversion of our government. This case brings it into sharp relief.

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About Morgan


Morgan is a wandering climate activist, a job well suited to the editorial board of this site. He organized at Williams College until his aprubt and unfortunate graduation in 2008. There, he was a Chinese major, student body co-president and one of the leaders of Thursday Night Group, the campus climate action group. Since graduating, in no particular order, Morgan has worked on a community energy efficiency campaign in western Mass, co-directed NH SPROG for the SSC and worked on Power Vote in Cleveland. He spent traveled in China, networking with youth climate activists and learning about the solar hot water business. He worked on Long Island for a solar and wind company doing home evaluations and sales. And he spent the better part of a year in DC at the Avaaz Action Factory causing trouble for a good cause.

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