Paterson's weekend actions hailed by both sides of gas drilling issue

NORWICH – New York Governor David Paterson sent mixed messages late Saturday evening by first vetoing a bill that would have banned further vertical drilling of natural gas wells until late spring, but then pushing off release of new permitting regulations for the more controversial high water volume horizontal drilling method until July.

His veto, which was announced first, was initially characterized as pro-business and hailed a job-saver by the Independent Oil and Gas Association, New York Farm Bureau, Southern Tier landowner coalitions and other organizations and individuals who support drilling.

The moratorium would have, effectively, halted existing and potential vertical natural gas and oil exploration in New York, and put the future of thousands of workers and hundreds of employers in jeopardy. The governor’s office, itself, recognized the legislation – which was passed overwhelmingly within the state’s Senate and Assembly – had gone too far.

“...Vertical drilling has been a fact in this state for 40 years without demonstrable environmental damage. Permitting for such drilling will continue unless the Department of Environmental Conservation’s comprehensive review requires it to be stopped,” a press release stated.

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