After 7 years of debate and 6 years of study, NYS has decided to ban hydraulic fracking statewide. The issue has been contentious and divisive with many communities split for and against.
Natural Gas development appeared on the horizon when the vast Marcellus Shale reserve was discovered. Several states, including Pennsylvania, have taken advantage of the economic benefits brought by the gas industry.
Governor Cuomo stayed out of a political hot potato by deferring to the officials best suited to determine the fracking debate. NYS DEC Commissioner David Martens and Acting NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker both support the fracking ban based on environmental issues and lack of clarity regarding health concerns raised by the fracking process .
For Sullivan County, NY, there is a mixed bag of impacts concerning the ban. Some land owners had hoped natural gas development would provide substantial revenue while others contended fracking would severely damage the natural beauty and bucolic nature of the area.
Second home owners were/are generally lined up against natural gas development. They did not purchase in the pristine Sullivan County Catskills to have gas wells and waste ponds next door. Farmers and other full time residents, on the other hand, generally supported development based on dwindling farm revenue and the lure of productive gas wells paying high premiums.
Now that fracking has effectively been banned, the future of our second home industry is brighter. Folks who did not want to chance a purchase and find an industrial park next door can now breathe easy.
The ban, coupled with the advent of full scale casino gaming in Monticello is positive news that will bolster the Sullivan County, NY Catskill Region. Renewed interest, excellent pricing, expanded business opportunity, and a much more positive spirit will transform the area. Hope to meet and greet you here in the New Sullivan County, NY Catskills.