Hydraulic Fracturing in the Delaware River Watershed

Environmental Studies
5 pages (1250 words)


The state of New York natural gas is a fuel producing company that may have come at the right time. The company has come at a time the prices of fuel and other commodities have skyrocket; therefore, it operation may reduce expenditure on the consumer and other goods. Nonetheless, drilling of natural gas is not a new thing to the New York state. The first gas was drilled in the year 1821 in Fredonia New York and over 75, 000 natural gas and oil wells have been drilled in the same state. More than 14,000 of the well are active and have excellent records of environmental safety and compliance standards.

The Marcellus Shale form one of the largest North American natural gas field and itsscope is still extending. This well has a potential of generating a multi-million dollar that could have a direct impact to the economy and its underlying effects can be ripped virtually through all regional companies and organizations. In the year 2002, a United States geological survey prompted that the Marcellus Shale constitutes a natural gas of over 30.7 trillion cubic feet. This is a colossal amount for the United States since the natural gas consumed in the United Statesis ratedat about 23 cubic feet per year. However, currently it can only produce about 19 cub feet of natural gas per year. However, the 2002 study of the technological survey on the natural gas production revealed that the Marcellus formation could produce over or about five hundred cubic feet. In fact, this figure is over 16 times the value earlier estimated. The Penn State Workforce Education and Development Initiative (PSWEDI) once estimated that per one billion dollars of the royal income made by Marcellus Shale reserve could lead the state to generate or gain 7880 jobs for the year 2011 and approximately 8,000 jobs by next year.

Current New York is importing 95 percent of natural gas from other states that include the southwest for domestic consumption. Since New York can position to produce such enormous quantities of the natural oil, it is high time they change its trend from importing to producing the same. Additionally, this opportunity for the New York to supply the rest of America with natural gas that is not only clean and of low carbon content but home grown also cable of reducing reliance on other states. The production of oil in New York will as well reduce the cost of energy. This new natural gas production will production on New York will lead to a new economic development and other substantial job growth opportunities. As much as there are needs to produce energy through the Marcellus Shale drilling company, both the negative and positive impacts of the project must be critically analyzed in relation to the viability of the project since it is on both sides of the coin that the governor will base his judgment come voting day.

The hydraulic fracturing at Marcellus Shade

The Marcellus Shale’s natural gas is deeply trapped in beneath rocks of the Earth’s crust(Gill 1). Therefore, the companies intending to extract the natural gas are compelled to use a form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing(Hodgson 24). This process employs that use of horizontal drilling in order to capture the maximum gas. This process is as well considered economical. The techniques that are applied in the fracturing allow free movement of the natural gas about the rocks spore as gas is trapped during extraction. The process also allows high rate of gas movement to the surface.The entire process ensures a minimum environmental contamination(Gill 2).

The minimizing the environmental impact

In exceeding the compliance as per the environmental rules and regulations of the state and federal, the New York IOGA recommended that all its members to perform an extensive inspection and supervision in all its operational phases including during survey, drilling, and during construction of pipelines. The environmental impaction of the process is to be examinedduring both the production process and reclamation (Hodgson 28). Notably, the inspection and supervision records have indicated that the entire process is exemplary safe and environmental friendly (Nationwide Incorporators Inc 3). In addition, the project management has promised to restore the roads and other infrastructures ultimately that the entire drilling process may haveaffected. However, the production process will be faced by numerous environmental challenges that the management and the project workforce are promising that will be at their minima(Farley 1).

During the fracturing and drilling period, there shall be unavoidable increase in traffic flow potentially contributing to noise and dust due to the use of heavy equipment (Detrow 1). Nonetheless, effects of the dust shall be reduced by frequent spraying with water and use of calcium as a means of keeping the dust down. In mitigating the traffic interruption, a traffic movement schedule shall be provided to the emergency service center, local fire district, as well as the department of the traffic. The roads serving busy institutions including schools are never to be damage by this temporary activity(Farley 1).

The current natural gas operations planning or using water in the extraction of the natural gas wells especially in the Marcellus Shale formation within the Susquehanna watershed must obtain approval from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC). Similarly, Delaware River watershed needs approval from the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) (Detrow 1). Therefore, in handling watersheds both DRBC and SRBC frequently inspect and monitor all waters withdrawn or disposed by the drilling company. The involvement of these two bodies incorporates a crucial step in protecting the environment while supporting a potential and viable energy development (Natural Gas Drilling 4).

Notably, the hydraulic fracturing has been applied for decades as a form of natural gas extraction. Therefore, the state had formulated its regulations in two versions; that is of gas and oil regulation programs with the first version came into force in the year 1981 and the second was enacted in the year 2005(Farley 1). These programs have effectively managed to protect the New York’s drinking water and underground water sources(Hodgson 30). The effective accomplishment of the program as ever been facilitated by comprehensive administration program of the United States’ department of environment conservation (DEC) through regulation and permitting programs that mitigate any potential environmental impacts through drilling and well protection (Prelas 5).

DEC ensures that the environment is sufficiently protected before and after gas and oil extraction. DEC as strict requirements for a drilling company to obtain drilling permits. Its regulations inhibit oil spill, ground water contamination and they as well need proper was disposal as well as proper drilling, and fracturing containment(Gill 6). In addition, the program protect ground water by ensuring cementing and casing program per well that prevents the flow of gas or oil or the salty water betwixt ground formation. The drilling regulations and rules require a report from the municipal water wells steam and surface water bodies. Furthermore, DEC reviews all gas and drilling permits in compliance to the state environmental quality review act (SEQR) to ascertain that the extraction process will never influence the environmentnegatively(Farley 1). The result effectively gives the oversight of the hydraulic project will protect the drinking water and ground water sources(Hodgson 35). Apparently, from the primary elimination and evaluation processes carried out by the Marcellus Shade, it is clear that it has largelyconformed to the above regulations and rules. In fact, it only needs some slight adjustments on the same for its full compliance(Gill 7).

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974is another policy that Marcellus Shade has to conform to its terms. Through this act, the state managed to develop extensive Underground Injection Control (UIC) programs that manage liquid wastes produced from water(Gill 7). They included the programs that addressed liquid injection that included underground geological formations; however, they never included hydraulic fracturing.  In the year 2005, Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) was enacted to address hydraulic fracturing (Marcellus Drilling News 1). The act stated that SDWA was not efficient enough to address hydraulic fracturing except in one way. That is the hydraulic fracturing is not environmental friendly only if the diesel is used as a solvent during the extraction process. The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) in association with state regulators carried out studieson risks posed by the hydraulic fracturing oil and gas extraction. In the year 2004, thefindings of these studies concluded that hydraulic fracturing has no significant environmental risks when executed properly. Since Marcellus Shade is not planning to use Diesel, it; therefore, means that it complies (Hodgson 37).

After extensively research and reading, over eight articles. Books, journals on laws and regulation concerning hydraulic fracturing in connection to the Marcellus Shade, I support that the company should be permitted to carry out its natural gas drilling plans in New York (Gill 7). As a fact, Marcellus Shade has confirmedbeyond any reasonable doubt through its own records and research reports that at its current state of the event, it has complied to all the (Detrow 1) underlying drilling and environmental rules and regulations to over 99.8 percent, and has promise to work to improve on the other 0.01 percent. Therefore, Governor Markell shoulddraw his deductions towards effective and wise judgment during voting; noting that 0.01 percent defectiveness of Marcellus shade cannot make them unconstructively and ineffectively drill natural oil in its targeted area (Farley 1).

Works Cited

Detrow S. “Environmental Groups Concerned about Senate Impact Fee,” OCTOBER 28, 2011. Print

Farley J.“Public Hearings and a Vote on Fracking: Impact on NY and NJ,”n.d.1 November 17, 2009. Print

Gill B. “The Facts about Natural Gas Exploration of the Marcellus Shale,”n.d.1. Print

Hodgson P. Energy, the environment, and climate change, 2010, Singapore: World Scientific.    Print.

Marcellus Drilling News. “MDN Weekly Update – Dec 4, 2011: Should Renewable Energy be Required?” December 4, 2011. Print

Nationwide Incorporators Inc. The Latest New Entity Type: The Series LLC, “The Evolution of Limited Liability Entities (LLE)” 2010. Print

Natural Gas Drilling, “Looking for information on the environmental impact of natural gas drilling?” n.d.1. Print

Prelas G. T. Energy Resources and Systems: Fundamentals And Non-Renewable Resources,       2009, New York: Springer. Print.