While New York State is poised to give the go ahead to new hydraulic fracking operations, lawyers are lining up to defend property owners who are reconsidering their leases, and for municipalities who want to keep fracking out of town despite New York State's Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) that bans local governments from regulating natural gas fracking. The township of Dryden, a rural suburb of Ithaca, NY, is challenging the law and contends that they are not regulating gas fracking by passing a ban within the borders of the town. Attorneys are licking their chops as the battles are sure to be contentious and expensive. There are also a number of residents in New York State who originally signed leases with gas company representatives who knocked on their doors and made attractive offers that many say were misleading at best. Others were just not aware of the risks to their water supply and were enticed by the monetary offers. Almost 5 years later, with leases about to expire, property owners are finding that their leases may be eligible for extensions without their approval because of legal procedures that are holding up operations. And there are quite a few folks out there who signed agreements that pay far less than more lucrative offers that some who lease their land are receiving. These people simply want out of their leases so they can renegotiate better deals. And finally in the news yesterday it was revealed that Frac Tech Intl. CEO, Marcus Rowland, received $24.4 million in compensation last year. As their name implies, Frac Tech provides hydro-fracturing services to large oil and gas companies. They just announced a name change, though. They took the word "Frac" out of their name. It must have been the negative connotation of the word "fracking." They are now FTS International Inc. Much more generic. Wise move. If you aren't aware of the growing controversy over natural gas hydro-fracking, I highly recommend the movie Gasland by Josh Fox. FrackAction is also on the front lines of fracking opposition and actor Mark Ruffalo has started a new group called Water Defense to help put a stop to hydro-fracking. Fracking causes horrible health problems, large amounts of contaminated water, and releases gases into the air that have knocked people unconscious. People's wells have been contaminated to the point where they can ignite the water coming out of the tap. The list of health related problems of people who have had their water contaminated is heart wrenching. Our water is too precious to risk contamination and our health too important to sacrifice for the easy money the gas companies are offering. For more info from the NYT: Signing Leases for Drilling, and Now Having Regrets
ThomsonRueters: Fracking lawsuit could set precedent for local drilling bans
WSJ: Energy Firm CEO Hits Pay Gusher
Say NO to Fracking, please.