Despite being home to the first natural gas well in the United States, the State of New York has prohibited the use of hydraulic fracturing within its borders. Since the election of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the question in the oil and gas industry is whether he will lift the ban. Shortly after his election, Governor Cuomo tasked the Department of Environmental Conservation with drafting rules to allow for hydraulic fracturing. While the DEC issued proposed rules and held public hearings on those proposed rules, the likelihood of hydraulic fracturing coming to New York hit a major stumbling block.
Initially, there were reports indicating that the DEC was close to publishing its final rules allowing hydraulic fracturing. However, the DEC Commission recently announced that the implementation of the proposed rules was going to be delayed pending input from the New York Department of Health. The DEC requested the Health Department’s input in response to concerns that the DEC did not adequately address potential health consequences in its environmental assessment.
Almost a week later, the Cuomo Administration hit the reset button and announced that, instead of waiting for the Health Department’s input, the DEC would scrap the proposed rules and start the process all over again.