About the DEC Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS)
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is responsible for regulating the development and production of oil and gas resources in New York State. Natural gas exploration and production companies, and mineral rights owners, are interested in developing a potentially significant gas resource in the Marcellus Shale through the use of horizontal drilling and a hydraulic fracturing technique known as "slick water fracturing." This technique requires large volumes of water. The Department has identified the action of well permit issuance when high-volume hydraulic fracturing is proposed as one which requires further review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
DEC previously evaluated the environmental impacts of natural gas drilling in New York State through a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS). The draft GEIS was released in 1988 and finalized in 1992. Since then, new technologies and potential drilling activity in areas not previously analyzed led to the need to supplement the original analysis. A final scope for the SGEIS was released on February 6, 2009, and a draft SGEIS was released on September 30, 2009. DEC received extensive comments and decided to release a revised draft SGEIS for another public review on September 7, 2011. A significant change in the latest draft is a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling within the unfiltered public water supply watersheds – specifically New York City and Syracuse. DEP has been very involved in the environmental review process throughout the entire SGEIS process and has submitted extensive comments at each stage. DEP will continue to engage with DEC on these issues and diligently work to protect the water supply.