Take Action Now

July 2011

Tell the Governor to Sign Bills to Protect Allegany State Park

The Legislature has passed two bills designed to protect Allegany State Park from oil and gas drilling, and they will soon be sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed. That means Governor Cuomo needs to hear from YOU!

The bills are listed below with a description of how they will protect Allegany State Park:

A408/S.2779: Sponsored by Assemblymember Hoyt and Senator Young.

This bill works to help the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) by asking all mineral rights owners within the park to come forward and claim their rights within a certain time period. If they fail to do so, the rights will revert to the state. Currently, OPRHP is unsure of what mineral rights they own. They suspect that in some instances no one is aware of who the mineral rights belong to. Once this process is complete OPRHP will know exactly which subsurface parcels are owned by New York State and where to focus future subsurface acquisitions.

A.393-A/S.4720: Sponsored by Assemblymember Hoyt and Senator Young, Cosponsored by Assemblymember Englebright and Senator Serrano

For the areas where mineral rights are confirmed, this legislation will authorize OPRHP to administer surface-access permits for energy companies seeking to drill in the park. Drillers will be required to go through a rigorous, site-specific application process and will be required to fully restore the forest to its original condition. The bill also forbids open pits, requires a closed loop system and requires an OPRHP employed on-site monitor to be present during any drilling activity. There is language substantially increasing the penalties for any accident that may occur, while giving OPRHP the power to limit the number of well pads and the amount of forest cleared, along with the ability to restrict what seasons drilling will be permitted. The permittee will be required to establish and maintain a fund sufficient to reimburse the office for the costs of consultants retained by the office to conduct:

  • monitoring to detect any adverse impacts to sensitive species of plants and animals and ecological communities
  • sampling of groundwater, surface water, wetlands, and
  • soil inspections to detect any non-native invasive plant or animal species that are introduced into the park as a result of the permittee’s activities.

    It is important to remember that this bill was necessary to give Allegany State Park special protections from private drilling. Allegany State Park is the only state park in which New York does not own all subsurface mineral rights.

    The Allegany Surface Management bill was formulated by ADK in cooperation with the legislative offices of Senator Young, Senator Serrano, Assemblymember Hoyt, and Assemblymember Englebright. These lawmakers and their staff worked very hard over the past two years to pass this bill.

    Now that these bills have passed through both houses of the Legislature, it is vital that our members convey their support and encourage Governor Cuomo to sign these bills into law. Please follow the link below to submit your comment in support of these two important bills:

    http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

    OR… mail a letter to the Governor at the address below:

    The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
    Governor of New York State
    NYS State Capitol Building
    Albany, NY 12224