Lifton Gas Drilling Legislation Passes Committee

June 3, 2010

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-Tompkins/Cortland) today announced that two of her Marcellus Shale gas drilling bills were passed in the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

Lifton’s favorably-reported legislation includes A 9414, which imposes strict liability upon gas drilling companies and leaseholders for damage resulting from hydrofracking operations. Both drilling companies and leaseholders may currently be liable for damages, but are not “strictly liable,” which would alleviate the need for a plaintiff to prove negligence. It would only apply to leaseholders who sign after the law is enacted. Also reported from committee is Lifton’s bill (A 10633) which, as described in the Sierra Club’s memo of support, “would reestablish that New York is still a home-rule state and that localities still can exercise land use powers as long as they do not specifically regulate a distinct aspect of oil or gas development.”

“I am very pleased that these two important bills have made it through this critical hurdle in the legislative process. I will continue to work to get these bills to the Assembly floor for a vote, to control and lessen the impact of gas drilling, and greatly increase accountability, if drilling happens at all, in New York State,” said Lifton.

“I am also pleased to see Assemblyman Englebright’s bill, which I co-sponsor, to impose a moratorium on all Marcellus Shale drilling in New York until after the EPA’s two-year study on hydrofracking. This would give New York more time to craft the best possible regulations to protect the state’s health and environment, should gas drilling proceed in our state,” stated Lifton.

“It is a tribute to the democratic process that thousands of New Yorkers have voiced their concerns about Marcellus Shale drilling and that the Assembly Majority has listened and responded with this package of bills. I hope we see the Senate and then the Governor similarly respond to these concerns as well,” Lifton concluded.