ALBANY, N.Y. — As Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration nears completion of regulations that could lift a 4.5-year-old ban on shale gas drilling in New York, opposition groups have ramped up efforts to persuade the governor to say no to fracking. Environmental, health and community groups opposed to shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” say they collected more than 200,000 comments during an intense 30-day effort featuring online coaching and comment-writing workshops at churches, community centers, food co-ops, coffee shops and holiday house parties from New York City to Buffalo. They gave cases of comments to regulators on Friday, the last day to comment on proposed drilling rules. Adding star power to the opposition were Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, who urged Cuomo to reject fracking. Industry representatives also delivered comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation, arguing that the proposed rules are so strict they'll effectively prevent drilling in New York's part of the Marcellus Shale formation. DEC must read and respond to the comments.
BP seeks penalty adjustment
NEW ORLEANS — BP urged a federal judge Friday to rule the company can't be penalized for millions of gallons of oil that spewed from its blown-out well but was captured before it could spill into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. A court filing by London-based BP PLC says workers captured more than 34 million gallons — 810,000 barrels — of crude and either burned it or shipped it to shore before it could enter the Gulf waters. The company asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to rule that the collected oil can't be counted in calculating the company's Clean Water Act penalties, which could amount to billions of dollars.
Poland plans rules for shale gas
WARSAW, Poland — Poland will likely adopt a much-awaited law to regulate shale gas production this year, opening the way for the potentially lucrative sector to kick into gear, Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski said Friday. Poland has been the most aggressive country in Europe in pursuing shale gas, a form of natural gas that is trapped in porous shale rock and requires new technologies to extract. It has been produced in the United States since late 1990s, but environmental activists say the extraction process — called hydraulic rock fracturing — is highly polluting. International and Polish companies are exploring for the gas in Poland but are waiting for the new law — which will regulate taxes on production, terms for starting business and distribution of gas — before they commit to a longer-term strategy.