Friday, November 13, 2009

Battlement Mesa residents ask for health study in advance of drilling agreement

By David O. Williams | 11.13.09 | 12:20 pm
The Colorado Independant

A group of citizen activists in the Western Slope retirement community of Battlement Mesa is hoping a type of health-impact study used successfully in the oil fields of Alaska’s North Slope can help them curtail pollution, traffic and noise from a looming natural gas drilling plan in their Garfield County town of 5,000.

They have their work cut out for them. In conversations with The Colorado Independent, citizens say they have little faith that county commissioners elected to protect public health but backed by oil and gas money will put residents’ interests before those of the energy companies.

The push for a health impact assessment, or HIA — offered through grants from Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — is coming from a group of “active retirees” who moved to western Colorado for clean living. They have urged Garfield County public health officials to ask the board of county commissioners to consider conducting the assessment prior to making any decisions on a plan to drill up to 200 gas wells in the heart of their community. Residents might suddenly see gas rigs rise as close as 400 feet from their homes. A tentative plan would also site two rigs on the municipal golf course.

“We have a community of 5,000 people here, many of them retired and many of them with health issues, and the reason they come to western Colorado is for the clean air and the clean water and the healthier lifestyle, and we feel that we’re being attacked by the gas drilling industry here and our health and welfare is at risk,” said Dave Devanney of Battlement Concerned Citizens.

The health-impact assessments, supported by the national Health Impact Project, have had success in moving the dial on these kinds of debates in the past. An HIA conducted in 2007 led to compromises between the Bureau of Land Management and Inupiat residents of Alaska’s North Slope to monitor air quality and any oil and gas drilling contamination of the wildlife they hunt.
The drilling project for Battlement Mesa would be extremely intrusive.

Although Denver-based Antero Resources has yet to submit its comprehensive drilling plan, or CDP, to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) – the state agency with oversight of oil and gas production — the company has previously discussed plans to drill up to 200 wells from 10 well pads in the community.

“Who else do we have to turn to but our county officials to help us look after the welfare of the citizens here?” Devanney said. He said county support of the HIA is not a given. “I believe they’re going to act on it. Whether they act favorably or not we’ll have to see. It seems that our three-member commission typically runs 2-1 in favor of the industry, but our intent is to request what we feel we need and force them to make a decision between energy or public health.”

Devanney said Garfield County’s environmental health manager, Jim Rada, seemed sympathetic to the Battlement Mesa cause at a meeting late last week, agreeing to present the HIA concept to the county commissioners at a Dec. 8 meeting, but the two Republican board members Monday outvoted the lone Democrat on a resolution opposing the FRAC Act, federal legislation aimed at increasing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversight of the natural gas industry.

Antero Resources representatives did not return phone calls requesting comment Thursday. Democratic Garfield County Commissioner Trési Houpt, also a member of the COGCC, has said she supports the FRAC Act and is concerned about the local public health impacts of drilling. Republicans John Martin and Mike Samson, whose campaigns last year both saw an infusion of outside oil and gas money, may be a tougher sell.

Devanney said another group, the Oil and Gas Committee of the Battlement Mesa Service Association, is working with Antero and the county to try to establish 1,000-foot setbacks between drilling rigs and homes. Typically the COGCC has jurisdiction over such matters, but the county approved the original Battlement Mesa PUD in the 1970s and has agreed to at least review Antero’s drilling plan from a land-use perspective once it’s submitted.

County regs rarely win out over state rules, but a 2006 Gunnison County case did establish some precedent. COGCC executive director David Neslin this summer told The Colorado Independent negotiation is always the best path, but ultimately the matter may have to be decided by the attorney general.

“Obviously, at some level the State Legislature has assigned to the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission [COGCC] the responsibility for facilitating the development of the state’s oil and gas resources in a way that’s safe and protects the environment,” Neslin said. “And at some point, local government actions or decisions that conflict with that legislative mandate could be preempted. As to any particular instance that’s going to raise a legal issue, then we’d have to look to the attorney general’s office for advice on it.”

Community activists have also asked the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to conduct a baseline study of the impacts of natural gas drilling in a residential area before the COGCC makes any decisions regarding Battlement Mesa, but costs in the current state budget-slashing environment could be an issue.

That’s where a Health Impact Project grant, which range between $25,000 and $125,000, could fill the void, Devanney said. HIAs have become increasingly popular in Europe, Canada and Australia, where they have been used to study the long-term health impacts of everything from industrial development to transportation projects. So far, other than Alaska, HIAs have not been used that much in the United States.

“We’re just one little, small community here, but we’re hoping that we might be able to find ourselves in the forefront of something more progressive with this health impact assessment,” Devanney said. “The likelihood of that happening in Garfield County, we’ll just have to wait and see …”

Monday, November 9, 2009

Interactive Map: Wastewater Samples From Gas Wells Test Positive for Radioactivity

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from 12 gas wells being drilled in the Marcellus Shale. Of those 13 samples, 11 contained levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, above the legally allowed amount safe for discharge, which is 60 pCi/L. One sample tested as high as 267 times that amount. Gross alpha and gross beta represent general detections of multiple kinds of radioactive isotopes.
The size of the markers on the map correlates to the number of times the sample from that well tested above the legal limit for radium-226.

Click on the interactive map to see more.

Well Name
Radiological Readings
Calabro T1
Orange, Schuyler County
Fortuna Energy Inc.
Gross Alpha: 18,330 +/- 3,694 pCi/L
Gross Beta: -324.533 +/- 654 pCi/L
Radium-226: 13,510 +/- 2,655 pCi/L
Carpenter 1
Troupsburg, Steuben County
Quest Eastern Resource
Gross Alpha: 7,974 +/- 1,800 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 1,627 +/- 736 pCi/L
Radium-226: 5,352 +/- 1,051 pCi/L
Frost 2
Orange, Schuyler County
Fortuna Energy Inc.
Gross Alpha: 14,530 +/- 3,792 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 4,561 +/- 1,634 pCi/L
Radium-226: 2,647 +/- 494 pCi/L
Haines 1
Avoca, Steuben County
Avoca Farms Ltd.
Gross Alpha: 54.6 +/- 37.4 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 59.3 +/- 58.4 pCi/L
Radium-226: 0.195 +/- 0.162 pCi/L
Haines 2
Avoca, Steuben County
Avoca Farms Ltd.
Gross Alpha: 70.0 +/- 47.8 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 6.79 +/- 54.4 pCi/L
Radium-226: 0.163 +/- 0.198 pCi/L
Maxwell 1C
Caton, Steuben County
Fortuna Energy Inc.
Reading on 10/7/2008:
Gross Alpha: 17,940 +/- 8,634 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 4,765 +/- 3,829 pCi/L
Radium-226: 2,472 +/- 484 pCi/L
Reading on 4/1/2009:
Gross Alpha: 3,968 +/- 1,102 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 618 +/- 599 pCi/L
Radium-226: 7,885 +/- 1,568 pCi/L
Parker 1
Oxford, Chenango County
Nornew Inc.
Gross Alpha: 3,914 +/- 813 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 715 +/- 202 pCi/L
Radium-226: 1,779 +/- 343 pCi/L
Schiavone 2
Reading, Schuyler County
EOG Resources Inc.
Gross Alpha: 16,550 +/- 3,355 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 1,323 +/- 711 pCi/L
Radium-226: 15,140 +/- 2,989 pCi/L
Webster T1
Orange, Schuyler County
Fortuna Energy Inc.
Gross Alpha: 123,000 +/- 23,480 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 12,000 +/- 2,903 pCi/L
Radium-226: 16,030 +/- 2,995 pCi/L
WGI 10
Dix, Schuyler County
EOG Resources Inc.
Gross Alpha: 10,970 +/- 2,363 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 1,170 +/- 701 pCi/L
Radium-226: 6,125 +/- 1,225 pCi/L
WGI 11
Dix, Schuyler County
EOG Resources Inc.
Gross Alpha: 20,750 +/- 4,117 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 2,389 +/- 861 pCi/L
Radium-226: 10,160 +/- 2,026 pCi/L
Woodhull, Steuben County
Quest Eastern Resource
Gross Alpha: 9,426 +/- 2,065 pCi/L
Gross Beta: 2,780 +/- 879 pCi/L
Radium-226: 4,049 +/- 807 pCi/L

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

GarCo commissioners delay FRAC Act decision after viewing anti-drilling film

GarCo commissioners delay FRAC Act decision after viewing anti-drilling film
By David O. Williams | 10.13.09 | 1:32 pm
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Everyone was a film critic Monday at a somewhat tense screening of the new anti-gas-drilling documentary “Split Estate” for the Garfield County commissioners. Most of the reviews — surprisingly, even from the industry — were glowing.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ("Split Estate")

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (Split Estate)

“I really need to sit down and see it again with a pen and paper,” said Donna Gray, community affairs representative for Williams, the largest operator in gas-rich Garfield County. “Not to fact check it, just to organize our thoughts about it. Again, I’m not ready to say anything, other than it was a very well-done film … very well-done.”

“Split Estate,” an award-winning documentary detailing the environmental conflicts between surface property owners and mineral-rights holders allowed to extract natural gas from their land, was screened for the commissioners at the request of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, which hopes to get a resolution from the board supporting greater federal oversight.

Specifically, the GVCA wants the commissioners to back the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) sponsored by U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jared Polis — both Colorado Democrats — and supported and opposed by a number of Colorado towns and counties.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a common gas-drilling process that involves injecting high pressure sand, water and undisclosed chemicals into natural gas wells to force open rock and tight sand formations deep underground and free up more gas.

The process, perfected by the oil services firm Halliburton, was granted an exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act during the Bush administration in 2005. The FRAC Act would remove that exemption and force oil and gas companies to broadly disclose the potentially toxic chemicals used in fracking, which industry officials say is competitive and proprietary information.

“One person who gets sick in Garfield County from oil and gas contamination from fracking fluids is one person too many, and we must help them,” GVCA board member Leslie Robinson told the commissioners after reading a resolution her group drafted at the request of the commissioners. The film details complaints from Silt and Rifle residents who say their health has been compromised for years by drilling operations on their land that have fouled the air and water.

“[A pro-FRAC-Act resolution] would make a lot of difference, and the county commissioners, with this movie, it’s something to make them sit up and notice,” said Dee Hoffmeister of Dry Hollow, south of Silt. “If it’s not in their backyard, they don’t really know what the ramifications are. It’s only those of us who have in our backyard and are sick from it [who know], and this movie is really showing what’s going on more than anything.

Some physicians agree people are being poisoned by fumes and undisclosed chemicals in groundwater supplies. They say there are simply too many cases of breathing problems, dizziness, unexplained achiness, nausea, bloody noses and eyes, neurological disorders and tumors to discount as coincidence. But industry officials argue there is no direct evidence that the host of aliments is connected to their drilling operations.

“I guess what I can say about Williams is we have a very good reputation as responsible operators in this area, and we stand on that reputation,” Gray said. “We’ve received awards from both the Bureau of Land Management and the [Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission] for community relations and for best-management practices.”

Officials for Williams, along with several other oil and gas companies active in Garfield County, declined to participate in “Split Estate.” Democratic county commissioner Trési Houpt thanked the GVCA for presenting the film and drafting a resolution for the board’s consideration, but added more discussion is needed before a decision can be reached.

“I imagine we’ll be putting this on an agenda, probably in November, because the three of us won’t be here the next meeting, and as you know, we still need to deliberate on that, but I think this reading [of the resolution] makes a great deal of sense, so thanks for bringing that forward,” said Houpt, who has previously indicated her support for the FRAC Act.

Republican John Martin has said he thinks federal oversight is unnecessary, while Republican Mike Samson seems undecided on the issue. From a state perspective, Gov. Bill Ritter has said more study is needed before a layer of federal oversight is added, and David Neslin, head of the COGCC, has said his organization would be open to more study, but that his staff generally feels state regulations are adequate for policing hydraulic fracturing.

“[The county commissioners] have taken a lot of testimony about [the FRAC Act] from both sides, so I’ll be very interested to hear,” Gray said. “They’re grappling with some difficult issues here, and I trust them and I think they’ll come to the right decision.”

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Halliburton loophole

Despite the widespread use of the practice, and the risks hydraulic fracturing poses to human health and safe drinking water supplies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") does not regulate the injection of fracturing fluids under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that is allowed by EPA to inject known hazardous materials -- unchecked -- directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.
This exemption from the SDWA has become known as the "Halliburton loophole" because it is widely perceived to have come about as a result of the efforts of Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force. Before taking office, Cheney was CEO of Halliburton -- which patented hydraulic fracturing in the 1940s, and remains one of the three largest manufacturers of fracturing fluids. Halliburton staff were actively involved in review of the 2004 EPA report on hydraulic fracturing.

State regulation

Several oil and gas producing states have regulations governing some aspects of hydraulic fracturing, but they rarely, if ever, require companies to provide detailed information on types and quantities of chemicals being used, and whether the amount injected underground returns to the surface or remains underground. Additionally, in most states companies do not have to prove that fractures have stayed within the target formations. Nor do companies have to monitor water quality when there are drinking water formations in close proximity to areas where hydraulic fracturing occurs.

The history of federal regulation

In 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (Atlanta) ordered the EPA to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This decision followed a 1989 CBM fracturing operation in Alabama that landowners say contaminated a residential water well.
In 2000, in response to the 1997 court decision, the EPA initiated a study of the threats to water supplies associated with the fracturing of coal seams for methane production. The primary goal of the study was to assess the potential for fracturing to contaminate underground drinking water supplies.
Meanwhile, in 2001, a special task force on energy policy convened by Vice President Dick Cheney recommended that Congress exempt hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The EPA completed its study in 2004, finding that fracturing "poses little or no threat" to drinking water. The EPA also concluded that no further study of hydraulic fracturing was necessary. The 2004 EPA study has been called "scientifically unsound" by EPA whistleblower Weston Wilson. In an October 2004 letter to Colorado's congressional delegation, Wilson recommended that EPA continue investigating hydraulic fracturing and form a new peer review panel that would be less heavily weighted with members of the regulated industry. In March of 2005, EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley found enough evidence of potential mishandling of the EPA hydraulic fracturing study to justify a review of Wilson's complaints.
Our Drinking Water At Risk Cover
Our Drinking Water at Risk Cover
The Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) has conducted a review of the EPA study. As reported in Our Drinking Water at Risk, we found that EPA removed information from earlier drafts that suggested unregulated fracturing poses a threat to human health, and that the Agency did not include information that suggests fracturing fluids may pose a threat to drinking water long after drilling operations are completed.
OGAP's review of relevant data on hydraulic fracturing suggests that there is insufficient information for EPA to have concluded that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a threat to drinking water.

Efforts to close the Halliburton loophole

In 2005, a national energy bill included the exemption of hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. This bill passed, with the exemption, although it left the door open for the EPA to regulate the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing operations.
In October 2008, Representatives DeGette, Salazar and Hinchey introduced legislation to protect drinking water from oil and gas development -- including ending hydraulic fracturing's exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
In June 2009, DeGette, Hinchey and Polis in the House of Representatives, and Casey and Schumer in the Senate introduced the Fracking Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC ACT).
Local governments have written resolutions and letters supporting ending the hydraulic fracturing exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act and requiring public disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals.

For More Information

2009 legislation to end the Halliburton Loophole

Halliburton Loophole fact sheets & etc.

Local resolutions supporting stronger regulation of hydraulic fracturing
(asterisked resolutions explicitly support ending the Halliburton loophole)

New York

Recent news stories dealing with the Safe Drinking Water Act Exemption (the Halliburton loophole)

2005 news stories surrounding the Safe Drinking Water Act Exemption (the Halliburton loophole)

EPA 2004 Halliburton Loophole study and EARTHWORKS/OGAP response


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Safe Drinking Water Act should cover hydraulic fracturing

Protect our drinking water: close the Halliburton Loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act

Bruce Baizel & Dusty Horwitt, 6/9/2009

View the publication (pdf)

States have adequate authority over hydraulic fracturing without federal oversight.

While states are not prohibited from setting standards for hydraulic fracturing, only Alabama has adopted specific protections, and these were court-ordered in 1997. Other states merely address pieces of the fracturing process such as well casing requirements. Colorado alone sets standards for chemical disclosure. A strengthened Safe Drinking Water Act is essential to protect drinking water across the nation.[1]

Removing the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption would either shut down drilling for natural gas or mandate a burdensome permitting process.

The oil and gas industry already complies with the SDWA when it injects fracturing fluids for disposal, but not when it injects those same fluids when drilling an oil or gas well. Under the act, the industry has already obtained approval for more than 150,000 injection wells including wells used to inject waste fluids from drilling such as fracturing fluids to ensure that these fluids do not pollute underground sources of drinking water (USDWs).[2] Oil and gas injection wells under the SDWA must be tested to ensure that they do not leak and must be monitored to check for contamination. Existing wells must not "initiate new fractures [or] propagate existing fractures in the confining zone adjacent to the USDWs." New wells "shall be separated from any USDW by a confining zone that is free of known open faults or fractures."[3] Both industry and EPA have years of experience operating with these standards.

Legislation to close the fracturing loophole would not require significant new federal standards, environmental impact statements, or additional individual permits for each well. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards already exist for underground injection activities, and current EPA rules allow a state to incorporate hydraulic fracturing into the existing permitting process for each well.

If hydraulic fracturing were covered by the SDWA, operators who plan to fracture using nontoxic fluids or to fracture in formations isolated from drinking water sources would face little regulatory burden. In some states, operators already have to provide information on whether fracturing will be used and a brief description of the fracturing process. Where state regulations would have to be changed, it would take between 6 and 9 months for a rulemaking process. New rules could be phased in over a period of months, as has been done for many other rules.

For more information:
Lauren Pagel, 202-887-1872x207
Dusty Horwitt 202-939-9133


  1. Wiseman, H., "Untested Waters: the Rise of Hydraulic Fracturing in Oil and Gas Production and the Need to Revisit Regulation", 20 Fordham Env. L.Rev. 115 (Spring 2009). Professor Wiseman is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
  2. Environmental Protection Agency. Technical Program Overview: Underground Injection Control Regulations, Office of Water 4606, EPA 816-R-02-025, Revised July 2001, p. 7, 61. Personal communications with EPA and Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, June 3, 2009.
  3. Id. at 14, 17; 40 CFR §§ 144-146. EPA Inventory of Class II UIC Wells, 2009.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

EnCana Buries Hydraulic Fracturing Pit Sludge in Unlined Pit

Twenty-three days after EnCana completed hydraulic fracturing operations on the F11E, the liner is removed, some of the sludge is pumped out and the remainder - perhaps 70 barrels or more - is dozed in.

The pad overlies a spring that often surfaces here. It is fed by a shallow groundwater aquifer that supplies water to West Divide Creek and a family's private water well located maybe 200 yards away. An irrigation ditch is located approximately 30 feet from the East end of the pit.

If one of the pumper trucks had overturned on the county road, spilling this stuff into the environment, a hazardous materials unit would have responded, sequestered the area, potentially evacuated citizens and employed measures to safeguard first responders, citizens and the environment. But because this is a hydraulic fracturing waste pit, out of sight of the public and on private land (owned, coincidently, by EnCana) it is simply covered up.

This same site - if it were at a gas station or a paper mill or a chemical manufacturing plant - would likely be a violation and require extensive clean-up and proper disposal at a licensed facility... as it should. But, again, here, in rural Garfield County, it is simply buried.

Industry would like us to believe that frac fluids are merely salt water, a little thickener, and food additives. But we know frac mixtures contain all kinds of hazardous substances, like biocides, benzene, hydrocarbons, solvents, descalers, surfactants, enzymes, acids, and patented synthetic chemicals. We also know the adverse health effects of some of these agents.

We know a nurse in Durango, CO nearly died of catastrophic organ failure after unprotected exposure to fracturing chemicals (we don't know what happened to the field worker she cared for). We know her physician had to guess how to treat her as she lay dying. And we know that industry lawyers blocked her testimony at a rules reform hearing where citizens and advocacy groups were lobbying for chemical disclosure. We also know that the oil and gas industry has totally refuted her claims in literature distributed to lawmakers in Washington, DC intended to influence legislators against voting to repeal hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Watching a bull dozer blade this toxic brew beneath twenty feet of uncontained soil is horrifying. Knowing that this industry is allowed to poison the land, the water and the people is even worse.

Eventually this pit was completely covered.

This site is less than a half mile from my home.... a place in the Rocky Mountains now exploited for its natural gas resource. A place once rich in other resources as well... water - air - land - wildlife - community.

EnCana calls where I live their "Field of Dreams". As they abuse the ecosystem and destroy its fragile sustainability, they reap a finite reward while leaving behind an industrial waste dump.

I apologize for the shaky video and loud background noise. The wind was blowing so hard it was shaking my hand and totally flooded the microphone.

Despite the awful nature of this situation, the meticulous work conducted by the dozer and excavator operators was something to see. I knew an operator who competed in heavy equipment rodeos, and watching him excavate was amazing.

All the folks on this site seemed capable, and I doubt that any of them gave a second thought to burying this pit. Field workers have told me this is common practice. They probably had no idea it was right over an aquifer and never considered the effects on a stream or private water well. They work around this stuff all the time, and many come to consider it routine, even unknowingly putting their own health at risk. But, EnCana leadership is well aware, and that is where accountability must begin.

As with most of these situations, it is the underlying structure of inappropriate federal exemptions, weak state rules and poor but accepted practices that lead to making this the terrible situation it is.

Only with full accountability can we develop workable and mutually beneficial solutions. Which are more than possible - they are at the leading edge of demand and on the precipice of necessity.

Ultimately, the fossil fuel industry must come out of the dark ages and embrace a more honest and cooperative manner of conducting their operations.

Part of that involves repealing exemptions that allow and encourage them to operate like a lawless regime, putting human health and safety as well as the environment at frequent and serious risk.

For over a year, at, I've been documenting EnCana's aggressive and irresponsible development of 60 natural gas wells around our home and the infamous area of the 2004 West Divide Creek natural gas blowout.

Friday, May 1, 2009



View complete document HERE

The purpose of oil and natural gas regulations is to establish the framework within which regulatory
programs insure that protection of the environment, especially water, is given the highest consideration with respect to the development of oil and gas resources.

While regulations are not the sole measure of regulatory effectiveness, they are an indicator of regulatory intent. They form the backbone of the regulatory program. Without regulations there would be little if any control over processes with the potential to create environmental harm.

Programmatic elements implemented in conjunction with regulatory language form the basis for an
effective regulatory program. The reader should keep this in mind and consult each state regulatory
agency website or speak with appropriate state agency staff, before concluding that a particular area is not addressed by a particular state. For example, New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) relies on statutory authority and regulation, but also utilizes an environmental review process, technical guidelines and special permit conditions to ensure safe and environmentally protective development of oil and gas resources. New York's broad statutory powers are conveyed in Article 23 of the Environmental Conservation Law.

Rules and regulations contained in 6NYCRR Parts 550-559 establish permitting practices and safeguards such as well setbacks from structures, roads, surface water bodies and streams. However, the DEC's Division of Mineral Resources also reviews all oil and gas drilling permits in accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) to ensure that the environmental impact of resource extraction will be mitigated to the greatest extent possible.

Further, a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) completed in 1992 evaluates potential environmental impacts from oil and gas drilling and recommends mitigation practices. Regulatory elements such as these are designed to insure oil and gas operations are conducted in a manner that is both safe and environmentally protective. The report you are about to read is designed to convey the intent of regulations enacted by states for the purpose of protecting water resources. Although the content of the report does not reflect the unanimous views of all members of the Ground Water Protection Council, it is offered as a general view of the GWPC member states.