Archive for September 8th, 2011

Author: Guest
• Thursday, September 08th, 2011

DRYDEN NY Sept 07 2011 - Neither rain nor flood could stop the people concerned about gas drilling and hungry for answers from showing up at the fire hall in Dryden Wednesday night (Sept 7). They came from Syracuse and Skaneateles, Utica and Cooperstown, and many Tompkins County towns looking for information. The forum they came to participate in, originally organized by the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition (DSEC), was hampered by area flooding when one of their speakers, a representative of Chesapeake Energy, was unable to get to Dryden. The moderator arranged for the event, Dave Veiser of WHCU, was kept busy at the radio station airing flood updates.

However, two other speakers, Bill Kappel of USGS in Ithaca, and James Northrup of Cooperstown, did complete the wet trip to Dryden and arrived on time for the meeting ready to make their presentations. A half hour before the scheduled start of the meeting, with about 45 people already in the hall, Henry Kramer of DSEC announced that he was cancelling the event.

All of the people present, including the speakers, made the request that the meeting go on. After some negotiating, and with the hall filling up with people who drove through flooded streets to hear the message Kappel and Northrup brought, it was agreed to allow the meeting to go forward although the sponsorship of DSEC was withdrawn.

Bill Kappel gave the standing room only audience an excellent understanding of the geology that lies under our feet. He talked not only about the Marcellus shale layer, but also of limestones and sandstones, the Utica and other shales. He gave good clear explanations of the fracturing process and how far the fractures may extend outside of the well bore.

James Northup talked about the very real problems that have occurred in other areas of the US where gas well development is happening, stressing that most of the problems are associated with surface spills and accidents. According to Northup, 80% of the dollar value that comes out of the ground under NY in the form of methane (natural) gas will leave the state as corporate profits and worker pay checks. Without a severance tax in NY, the state gains nothing but the income tax on royalties paid to lease signers. He told of better laws regulating the industry in TX, CO, and NM, among other states. With a Texas-sized sense of humor he brought laughter to an otherwise dark subject.

Stressing that public comments are vital to NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on the just released revised draft of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (rdSGEIS)** that will guide the permitting of hydrofracked gas wells, Northup also focused on home rule ordinances, saying that local road use and land use ordinances are in place out West where gas extraction by use of hydrofracking is common, and that towns in NY should adopt local land use ordinances and support Home Rule.

** Northup and Bill Huston have a guide for responding to the proposed rdSGEIS:

William Kappel’s background and qualifications:

William (Bill) Kappel has been a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, New York Water Science Center at Ithaca, NY since 1979. Previous to that time he served as a hydrologist for the U.S. Forest Service for 5 years in the National Forests of Missouri, and the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin. His Survey career started with two projects, the National Urban Runoff Program (NURP) in Rochester, NY and the West Valley Nuclear Waste Facility Characterization project at West Valley, NY. These studies were followed by a series of groundwater studies in the Niagara Falls region in the 1990s. At the same time the study of ‘unique’ hydrogeologic phenomena known as mudboils or mud volcanoes began south of Syracuse, NY in the Onondaga Creek Valley. This long-term study also lead to a series of several unusual hydrogeologic studies including landslides in glacial lake clays, land-surface subsidence due to various anthropogenic activities, and the use of ‘forensic’ hydrogeologic techniques to further understand the hydrogeology of these study areas - Carbon-14 age dating, dendrogeomorphology, dendrochronology. Bill has also served as Study Section Chief of the Ithaca office over this time.

James Northup’s background and qualifications:

· General partner in a 1000 acre suburban real estate development. General partner in a 40-acre development in downtown Dallas TX.

· Partner and investor in the acquisition and sale of offshore oil rigs, including the Teledyne fleet and WR Grace fleets, and an investor in oil and gas projects.

· Co-owner of Northrup Energy, which was sold to ARCO Solar, which subsequently became BP Solar, the largest solar energy company in the world.

· Served on the Governor of Texas’s Energy Advisory Council.

· Co-author of one US patent.

· Co-founder of the White Rock Boathouse, Inc., the largest rowing boathouse in the world, the Ursuline (Dallas) Crew and the Jesuit (Dallas) crew.

· Brown University, BA, Southern Methodist University 1973, MBA, Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, 1976.

Contact: Marie McRae

Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition

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