On November 29, the New York Assembly passed A1143B/S08129B which had previously passed the Senate. Governor Paterson is reported to be prepared to sign the bill, although the New York Times blog reports that industry groups are still pushing for a veto. The bill, if signed, would impose a moratorium on new permits for natural gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing until May 15, 2011.

Reports are that New York is allied with Pennsylvania in trying to break the logjam on natural gas well regulations at the Delaware River Basin Commission. That suggests some division in the New York approach. Some believe that the moratorium until May 15 is just political posturing because it will not really mean much. Note that no permits can be granted in New York until NYSDEC finalizes its Revised Generic Environmental Impact Statement. With a gubernatorial transition upcoming, May is not likely to be much further out than the GEIS, so this action may be more cosmetic than important. The text of the bill follows.  

AN ACT to suspend hydraulic fracturing; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  1.  Section 1. There is hereby established a suspension of the issuance of
  2.  new permits for the drilling of a well which utilizes the practice of
  3.  hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of stimulating natural gas or oil
  4.  in low permeability natural gas reservoirs, such as the Marcellus and
  5.  Utica shale formations.
  6.  The purpose of such suspension shall be to afford the state and its
  7.  residents the opportunity to continue the review and analysis of the
  8.  effects of hydraulic fracturing on water and air quality, environmental
  9.  safety and public health.
  10.  For the purposes of this section, "hydraulic fracturing" shall mean
  11.  the fracturing of rock by fluid for the purpose of stimulating natural
  12.  gas or oil for any purpose.
  13.  This section shall not apply to permits issued prior to the effective
  14.  date of this act which utilize hydraulic fracturing that are subject to
  15.  renewal.
  16.  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately, and shall expire and be
  17.  deemed repealed on May 15, 2011.