Saturday, August 2, 2014

Gas Drillers and Industrial Polluters Get CLEAN SLATE in NY!

Industrial Polluters in NY State get a CLEAN SLATE from DEC!

Here's some amazing things I learned today
from talking to Johnny Wunder,
a local guy you made an amazing website to harvest
official data from NYS DEC regarding Oil and Gas wells,
as well as toxic chemical spills.

Of 6885 spills in this dataset, which is everything recorded
for the last 12 years covering 7 NY counties in the Southern Tier,
none are attributed to any source!  

Nor does the NYS DEC publish environmental records of any company.

So you know how the gas industry hacks are always saying:
"There's been gas drilling in NY for 100 years
and there's never been any problems!"
      -- typical gas industry booster

Because of how the reporting is done,
The Oil and Gas industry in NY
has a clean slate according the NYS DEC!
Spills over a certain size associated with mining activity
get investigated by the Minerals Division,
which is a "big black hole", according to Johnny.
He said the paper trail ends there.


Also, get this--
The NYSDEC doesn't investigate and write spill report.
The company who made the mess gets to write the report!

How do you feel about that?

Do you trust corporate industrial polluters
to tell the truth?


Additionally, the entire system is archaic.

Most compliance forms are on paper
and sent through the US Mail, and stored only
in a filing cabinet in some DEC regional office.
So records which might indict the safety of
these companies is not online, and not easily
If you ask for such info under FOIL
you will likely get "No Records Found".

Spills are Propitiatory and Confidential!

For spills associated with oil and gas drilling
there is a 90 day period of "confidentiality" allowed,
allegedly due to the "competitive nature" of O+G mining,

So the information is embargoed away
from public eyes for 90 days after the spill!
If the industry can hide it from view,
this means: NO PIZZA FOR YOU!

Just write "UNKNOWN" on the form,
and call for the vacuum truck!"

For many spills, the quantity is recorded as "unknown".

Oh really? No idea at all?
This is probably due to the self-reporting, and that NYS DEC  has so few inspectors for this region.

So industrial polluters in NY can say whatever the frack they like.

6885 spills, 100% officially have unknown causes
Most wells are lucky to get a site
visit every 18-24 months. Spills are commonly not inspected at all or
investigated thoroughly, and in 6885 spills,
NONE are attributed to any source!
So despite the fact that,
according to NYS DEC,
there were 6885 chemical spills
in 7 counties over 12 years,
and that most of these spills related industrial activity,
and many associated with the 4123 oil and gas wells in the region,

NONE of these spills are officially associated
with oil and gas drilling,
or have any official cause whatsoever

Have a nice day!


Johnny impressed upon me that while he thinks all the
activist energy which was focused upon the SGEIS and
Regs for fracking shale in NY got all the attention it did,

He says the existing permitting process, spill reporting system,
compliance reporting, and regulatory enforcement
of the many EXISTING CONVENTIONAL Oil and Gas wells in NY
is sorely lacking.
He has impacted water from the drilling of the Stagecoach field,
and has not consumed his local water for about 10 years.

While he is moving out of the area,
he thinks we should pressure the Legislature
to review and modernize the entire system
around permitting and reporting of all Oil+Gas mining
in NY, as there is a DIRE NEED for quality public information.
He has tried to make tools, covering at least the area near where
he lives, accessible to the public on the internet for free,
to partially make up for the extreme deficiencies in the  NYS DEC
online reports, but there is still a lot of work to do.