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Letter to Albany Times Union re: ‘Chemical makers back drilling rules,’ July 21

A few weeks ago, ACC President Cal Dooley traveled to Albany, NY to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office as well as the Times Union editorial board to discuss the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) proposed regulations on shale gas development in the state of New York.

The resulting July 21 Times Union editorial, however, left out a few key points that are worth including for you here.

First, domestic shale gas has exciting economic promise and could help revive the manufacturing sector, including in some of the hardest-hit areas. A recent study by ACC looking at the benefits for New York estimated the addition of 2,500 new jobs in the state’s chemical industry and 22,000 jobs outside of the industry, with $9.1 billion in increased state economic output.

Second, DEC’s July 1st report supported hydraulic fracturing in the Southern Tier while prohibiting drilling in watershed areas for New York City and Syracuse. This appears to be a reasonable approach, and New Yorkers can be confident that the process will be rigorously regulated under the proposed rules.

Third, in harvesting shale gas, small amounts of chemicals are used to prevent pipes from corroding, eliminate microbes and control water flow in the pipes. As New York’s report states, with the right practices in place, chemicals are not a risk to groundwater and surface water supplies.

Finally, we agree on the need to disclose chemicals in order to give regulators the information they need, as long as confidential business information is protected.

The United States must capitalize on shale gas as a significant domestic energy source while ensuring that there are appropriate regulations protecting water supplies and the environment. ACC is optimistic the rules proposed by Gov. Cuomo’s administration will allow for just that.

Photo via Times Union

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Chemical makers back drilling rules

Industry officials say protections adequate

ALBANY — The makers of petrochemicals used in natural gas hydrofracking back proposed new gas drilling rules offered this month by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Members of the American Chemical Council, which represents makers of hydrofracking chemicals sold to drilling companies, were in Albany on Wednesday to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to express support for DEC rules that would open much of the state’s Southern Tier to such drilling.

Cal Dooley, president of the council and a former Democratic congressman from California, also met with members of the Times Union editorial board to praise the proposed DEC rules as “balanced” and adequate to protect air and water from potential pollution.

He said while some hyrofracking chemicals are toxic and carcinogenic, public exposure to such chemicals is manageable, and that there are no known cases of the chemicals — which are injected deep underground a mile or more to fracture gas-bearing rock layers — reaching the surface to contaminate water or air.

Part of the proposed rules issued this month by DEC would make New York the first state to require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals injected into wells. Dooley said the industry supports that — as long as the state does not disclose “confidential business information.”

DEC is expected to start a 60-day comment period on the proposal sometime next month.

Dooley said cases of contaminated drinking water occur, like that found in Dimmock, Pa., where home owner can set well drinking water on fire, are caused when well bores are not properly sealed, allowing lighter-than-air methane gas to rise through wells, fissures in rock and into drinking wells.

Dooley said the chemical manufacturers support “state-by-state” regulations to address hydrofracking risks, rather than a comprehensive federal approach.


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