Since 2008, Otsego 2000 has worked to educate state and local leaders as well as citizens of the many adverse and irreversible impacts of high volume hydraulic fracturing as method of natural gas extraction. If this industrial practice were commenced in Otsego County or elsewhere in New York, it would pose unacceptable risks to our water, environment, agriculture, historic places, economy and infrastructure. We are pleased to report that on May 13, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reversed course. Faced with more than 260,000 comments on its proposed plans and vocal opposition from all quarters of the State, the DEC issued a Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) prohibiting high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State. A formal Findings Statement was issued by the DEC in June 2015. There are aspects of these documents that should be clarified and improved. In addition there is still a possibility of legal challenge to the Findings. However, in virtually every respect the FSGEIS confirms the serious risks posed by hydraulic fracturing to the citizens and environment of New York. This constitutes a real victory for our region and the State. Links to these documents are provided on the Gas Drilling Resources page.
At the same time that we celebrate this achievement, we remain vigilant and concerned about the fracking taking place in neighboring States. As a result of fracking outside New York’s borders, the State is faced with massive build-outs of pipelines and compressor stations to carry fracked gas to markets in the northeast and for export. The risks posed by methane leakage and other dangerous emissions such as formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds from these pipelines and compressor stations are still poorly understood but very real. We are also concerned that residents and homeowners in our region are having their property taken by eminent domain for the construction of pipelines and compressor stations, intended ultimately for the private profit of the developers, which should be a concern to all citizens.
We discuss our work in opposition to the Constitution Pipeline, below. In addition we oppose the construction of a Kinder Morgan pipeline to be located immediately adjacent to the Constitution pipe thereby more than doubling the anticipated environmental damages. There are also plans for the construction of large compressor stations near Franklin, just outside Oneonta, which will impact our region. Finally we are working with Mohawk Valley Keeper to stop the Dominion New Markets Project, which calls for the installation of greatly expanded and significantly more polluting turbines at the existing compressor station in the Town of Minden. This is just a few miles up Rte. 80 north of Otsego Lake and the Otsego County line. The proposed plans for Minden are particularly concerning because a full Environmental Impact Statement was not required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and less polluting alternatives clearly exist. Links to comments filed by Otsego 2000 with FERC are also attached on the Gas Drilling resources page.