NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2890
SPONSOR: Sweeney (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to the prohibition of the on-site storage of flowback water
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to
provide greater oversight of natural gas drilling.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill would:
* prohibit the use of on-site reserve pits for flowback waters;
* require flowback waters to be contained within steel tanks;
* require the removal of flowback waters within seven days of a halt in
drilling operations; and,
* require the immediate removal of flowback waters if the site is to be
left unattended or if operations are suspended.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: Amends
§23-0305(8) of the ECL to add a new paragraph K.
Justification: New York is home to rich natural gas reserves. In 2006,
there were 6,213 active natural gas wells that generated a state record
of 55.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The Marcellus formation that
extends from the Southern Tier into Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
is estimated to have $1 trillion worth of natural gas, and is largely
untapped. The rising price of natural gas has led to an increased demand
for new sources and made formations like the Marcellus even more attrac-
The extraction of these reserves is accompanied by considerable risk to
the environment. In order to fully examine this risk, the Assembly Envi-
ronmental Conservation Committee has held a series of hearings to exam-
ine the environmental protections needed in the Department of Environ-
mental Conservation's (DEC) natural gas, and oil drilling regulatory
structure in order to safeguard natural resources. In the course of time
hearings, expert testimony was presented on necessary steps to ensure
the safety of New York's precious water resources.
The use of on-site reserve pits for flowback waters poses a potential
hazard to humans and wildlife. The use of steel tanks will minimize such
hazard and also decrease the risk of accidental releases. In addition,
the presence storage limitations will ensure that flowback waters are
not stockpiled on site for unlimited periods of time.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.10088 of 2010 - Codes.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.
THIS ACT SHALL TAKE EFFECT 90 DAYS AFTER ENACTMENT.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2011-2012 Regular Sessions
January 20, 2011
Introduced by M. of A. SWEENEY, ZEBROWSKI, BRENNAN, LIFTON, JAFFEE,
KAVANAGH, TITONE, COLTON, CYMBROWITZ, MAGNARELLI, REILLY, SPANO,
PAULIN, CASTRO, N. RIVERA, P. RIVERA, ROSENTHAL, MAISEL, PERRY, ORTIZ,
COOK, WEISENBERG, SCHIMEL, BARRON, CASTELLI -- Multi-Sponsored by --
M. of A. DESTITO, GOTTFRIED, LENTOL, MAGEE, MARKEY, McENENY,
O'DONNELL, THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Envi-
AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the
prohibition of the on-site storage of flowback water
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The opening paragraph of subdivision 8 of section 23-0305
2 of the environmental conservation law, as amended by chapter 846 of the
3 laws of 1981, is amended to read as follows:
4 With respect to oil pools or fields and natural gas pools or fields,
5 the department shall [have power to]:
6 § 2. Paragraph k of subdivision 8 of section 23-0305 of the environ-
7 mental conservation law is relettered paragraph 1 and a new paragraph k
8 is added to read as follows:
9 k. Prohibit the use of on-site reserve pits for flowback water and
10 require that such water be contained within steel tanks with such fluids
11 removed within seven days if there will be a hiatus in site activity and
12 following completion of drilling and stimulation operations; provided,
13 however, if operations are suspended or the site is left unattended at
14 any time, fluids must be removed immediately.
15 § 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
16 have become a law.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.