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Hello! Im C.J.

Randall and Im Rima Shamieh and on behalf of CaRDI (the Community & Regional Development Institute at Cornell University) wed like to welcome you to a comprehensive look at updates to the September 2011 revised draft SGEIS issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. We waded through the 1500-plus-page document to bring you summary and analysis but weve attempted to limit our scope to the most significant and compelling portions of the SGEIS update. This is a lot to bite off, so well be doing two separate presentations; this first one is on the anticipated Water, Air, and Ecosystem impacts and the proposed mitigation strategies. The second presentation -- to follow shortly examines a range of community and economic impacts. So thanks for being with us today!

Rather than go chapter by chapter, we decided to break the SGEIS down three accessible topics for this presentation: water, air, and ecosystem impacts. Weve interviewed and gathered comments from Cornell faculty with expertise in their respective section to help explain some of the complexities in the SGEIS. Whenever possible weve linked directly to their research. When referencing the DECs recent updates to the SGEIS which are indicated in the text by underlining we do by page number in the latest draft. This is an important distinction since theres been a lot of new pages added just since the July draft and especially since the 2009 draft. Weve also included associated developments at the federal level and have linked to those hearings and related documents whenever possible. And finally, well conclude with some tips for making substantive comments to the DEC. Note that were trying to report to you what the DEC has changed in its analysis and proposals, as well as the current state and federal contexts of these proposals. We are reserving judgment on the value of these proposals.

For just a bit of background on the document itself, the SGEIS stands for Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, a review process required before the state Department of Environmental Conservation may issue permits for this specific type of gas extraction, High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing. That original scoping document which is linked here is kind of like the bones of the SGEIS as it identifies what the agency is and isnt going to consider in a subsequent impact statement. The SGEIS specifically covers hydraulic fracturing in all dense shales like the Marcellus. The Utica Shale is a deeper formation underneath much of the Marcellus that extends further north into western New York and Canada and is in the early stages of research on its production potential. SEQR is the statute passed by the state legislature in 1975 that gives agencies (not just the DEC, which is important to remember when looking at the SGEIS) the authority to protect and enhance the environment while weighing community and economic resources.

The departments original Impact Statement was released in draft form in 1988 and finalized in July 1992. The current draft SGEIS is a supplement to this, and you can find it at the link above or as Appendix 2 in the SGEIS. Most of the 850 comments received during this review process were technical comments from industry and trade groups so the circumstances surrounding the issuance of this document were quite different. Its release didnt garner a single mention even in the Albany newspaper. Just as an aside, if youre interested in the DECs position on takings you may want to take a look at the 1992 GEIS.

So keep in mind that the SGEIS is not a regulation but rather part of the departments responsibility to take a hard look at the issues defined in the scoping process. Its built on the 92 GEIS so it is an addition to that document *not* independent of it. So it applies only to horizontal and high-volume hydraulic fracturing, not vertical wells already established in New York. Most importantly, this is not the last word from the department. After collecting comments, the DEC will issue a final SGEIS and a findings statement with a rationale for their decisions. No state agency can take action until this is done.

High-volume hydraulic fracturing or HVHF is a process where sand and chemicals are mixed with millions of gallons of water and pumped into the ground under pressure and stresses are applied to release natural gas trapped inside the dense shale rock. The DEC is estimating average water usage per well to be 3.6 million gallons as of the most recent SGEIS draft, but estimates from previous drafts range from 2.4 million to almost 8 million gallons. The water that returns to the surface along with the natural gas is called flowback. Click the link above for a short video animation on the process of HVHF.

Just to illustrate what the four well per pad model looks like, we turn to a graphic from Cornell fracture engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea. This is the development scenario that the DEC is using for a lot of its critical assumptions in the SGEIS, from air and greenhouse gas emissions calculations to truck traffic to forest fragmentation. According to a new report from Penn States Jim Ladlee and Cornells Jeff Jacquet, PA is averaging just over two wells per pad; click the link above for their short brief on well pad development in the Marcellus Shale.

There are four main phases of natural gas extraction: exploration, development, production, and reclamation. The SGEIS also includes a separate completion phase to specifically identify well fracturing and flowback. This is an important distinction since many of the new proposed federal and state emission regulations deal with these processes. In the exploratory phase, geologists and petroleum engineers use surveys to locate natural gas deposits and determine the best methods for extracting the gas. This phase can also include everything from lease negotiation to permitting. The development phase is when well construction and drilling begins. The production phase includes everything from processing to transmission to storage of the gas. The reclamation phase marks the transition back to vegetation cover. In this draft the DEC is clear that a department inspector will determine when reclamation of a site has been fulfilled.

The DEC received 13,300 comments from the 2009 draft version of the SGEIS, including petitions and transcripts from public hearings. Independent consultants provided much of the scientific analysis. They collaborated with other New York State agencies as well as PA agencies, as theyve had several years of HVHF experience. Also included in Appendix 15 are statements made by officials at five different state regulatory agencies.

The first proposed regulation thats gotten a lot of press is the protection of the Syracuse and New York City watersheds. As we will explain, these areas are protected at the federal level by the USEPA which determines the criteria to protect public water systems that are supplied by a surface water source. Whats new in this draft is the addition of a 4000 foot buffer around these watersheds. Well also discuss the proposed regulations to recycle flowback water and the disposal of other wastes like drill cuttings. The DEC proposes that no drilling take place within 100-year floodplains. The method to construct a well will require a third, intermediate casing installed between the outer surface casing and the inner production casing. Well illustrate casing and cementing practices a little later on.


The DEC reduced the ten wells per pad maximum proposed in previous versions to a maximum four wells per pad standard. All emissions calculations are based on this scenario. Operators will not simultaneously run equipment to drill and fracture the well. The DEC is also proposing a GHG emissions mitigation plan that includes a Leak Detection and Repair program to limit potent gases released during the production phase. This emissions plan is designed to limit two of the biggest HVHF offenders known to the USEPA and the DEC: VOCs and methane. More on this after we take a look at water impacts and the proposed mitigation strategies.


In this presentation I will highlight the major changes in the 2011 SGEIS that relate to water withdrawals, wastewater management, drinking water and groundwater protections, and well pad setbacks.


There are several significant changes in the SGEIS with regards to regulating water withdrawals. New York State recently adopted the Water Resources Bill. This new law allows the DEC to monitor and enforce quality and quantity standards, and also regulate water withdrawals over 100,000 gallons per day in all New York State watersheds. A major goal of the law is to prevent withdrawals when the water flow is too low.


Here is a summary of the quality and quantity standards the DEC must monitor. Passby flow is a measure of the amount of water flowing through the stream channel, and is determined downstream of withdrawal locations. Another requirement is protecting against fish impingement and entrainment. Fish impingement occurs when fish become trapped on the water intake screens. Entrainment occurs when fish are sucked into the intake system. The figure on the right is an example of an end-of-pipe screen that's used to protect wildlife against such occurrences. The law also requires that the DEC evaluate the cumulative impacts of drilling industry withdrawals on other withdrawals.


As I mentioned in a previous slide, the new Water Resources Law allows the DEC to regulate all water withdrawals over 100,000 gallons per day, in all watersheds in the state. When regulating surface water withdrawals, it's important to determine how low the flow can be in the waterway before significant negative impacts on the environment can be felt. There are several flow rate cutoffs that regulators use to set the limit for withdrawals. The Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission each has its own method of regulating withdrawals, but the DEC had proposed yet a third method called the Natural Flow Regime Method. The DEC does intend to work with the two commissions to seek consistency in water resource management within New York.


Here's how the Natural Flow Regime Method works. All waterways have variable seasonal flows. For example, a river might have a high flow in the spring due to snow melt, and a lower flow in late summer, when there's less rain. These seasonal flow variations are crucial for natural ecological processes and for supporting wildlife. The natural flow regime method would allow withdrawals only to the extent that they would avoid significantly disrupting the stream's natural seasonal variation, so that the stream's flow is high when it should be high and low, but not too low, when it is seasonally appropriate. One downside to using this method to regulate withdrawals is that there needs to be enough high-quality data over time to accurately represent the natural flows of the stream.


We'll now move on to discuss wastewater. On average, 3.6 million gallons of water are used to hydraulically fracture a well in the Marcellus Shale, but only about 9 to 35% of that water comes back up in the form of flowback. Flowback water is the water that comes back out of the well after it's fractured, but before the well is in production. It may contain salts, heavy metals, petroleum derivatives, and naturally occurring radioactive materials known as NORMs. Wastewater primarily presents a risk to ground and surface waters through possible surface spills and leaks.


To protect our water resources against these risks, wastewater is required to be stored in airtight containers. The DEC is also requiring a secondary containment system that can contain at least 110% of the sealed container's volume. This would be like taking a sealed paint can and placing it onto a casserole dish. The casserole dish would contain the paint if the paint can ever sprung a leak. The figure on this slide illustrates a secondary containment system currently being used in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The DEC also proposes to regulate the transport and handling of wastewater through a Drilling and Production Waste Tracking Form. This would help ensure that wastes are disposed of properly. The record-keeping requirements and level of detail would be similar to what is presently required for medical waste.


Publicly Owned Treatment Works, known as POTWs, are municipal facilities that treat publicly generated wastewater. The DEC analysis indicated that New York State POTWs have a limited capacity to treat hydraulic fracturing wastewater. This is even if all POTWs that could take fracturing fluid actually would, though experts believe that this is unlikely due to local political pressures and logistical issues. In terms of private wastewater treatment facilities, the DEC primarily discussed potential risks such as surface spills and groundwater discharges due to improper maintenance and overloading. The DEC also pointed out that these risks can be minimized with proper maintenance and regulated systems, waste tracking, and permitting control measures. It's also important to note that drillers are required to submit a waste disposal plan before DEC will issue a drilling permit.


As a permitting condition, the DEC proposes to require drillers to test private water wells within 1,000 feet of the well pad. If a property owner within that 1,000 foot range does not give permission, than the driller must test wells out to 2,000 feet of the well pad. The driller must provide the results to the water well owners, and is also required to provide them to the Department of Health and DEC for the purposes of investigating possible well contamination. A detailed testing protocol is included in the latest draft of the SGEIS.


The NYS Department of Health provided a list of recommended compounds and water characteristics that private water wells should be tested for. The 2009 list was really intended for new residential wells, so in the 2011 draft the list was tailored more specifically towards diagnosing issues related to gas drilling. A few compounds were added to the updated list and several compounds that were not relevant to gas development were removed.


Since the latest draft of the SGEIS was released in September 2011, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania published a study on the impacts of drilling on private water wells. This study analyzed pre-drilling and post-drilling water samples from 48 wells within 5,000 feet of a well pad, and analyzed post-drilling samples from 185 water wells, for a total of 233 water wells. The researchers found that 40% of the water wells that were tested before drilling took place actually failed at least one federal water quality standard. The most common reasons for these failures were elevated levels of: coliform bacteria, turbidity, or manganese. 20% of the private water wells tested also had very low levels of dissolved methane gas. The study found that there were no statistically significant changes in water chemistry after drilling.


The DEC recognizes that there is a risk of surface spills and leaks of fracturing additives that could cause water pollution. Like wastewater, the DEC will require secondary containment for fracturing additives. Chemical exposure scenarios were already addressed in the 1992 GEIS.


We're now moving on to DEC's analysis of the risks of water pollution caused by the hydraulic fracturing process itself. There is strong evidence indicating that groundwater contamination caused by the fracturing process is not a significant risk. DEC based this conclusion on sworn testimony of regulatory officials from 15 states, and also on an analysis conducted by the consulting firm ICF International. All regulatory officials who provided testimony to the House Committee on Natural Resources indicated that no case of contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing has been documented in their states.


This is a summary of the key points in ICFs analysis. First, in the areas where drilling is allowed, the Marcellus Shale is separated from the water table by at least 1,000 feet of lowto moderate-permeability rock. Second, the volume of fluid used to fracture a well is relatively small in comparison to the large void between the shale layer and the water table. Also, the amount of time the fluid is under pressure is relatively small when compared to the time required to travel the large distance between the shale and the water table. Finally, any flow of fracking fluid towards the aquifer layer would be reversed during flowback and production, because of the directional pressure change inside the well.


We are now moving on to DECs proposed protections of Primary and Principal aquifers. First, well briefly review these two designations. A Primary aquifer is highly productive and currently supplies water to major municipal systems. This designation is determined by the NYS Department of Health. There are currently eighteen primary aquifers in the state, which are indicated on this map in red.


Principal Aquifers are not intensely used as sources of water by major municipal systems at this time, but are known to be or could potentially be highly productive. They are used by individual households as well as small public water supplies such as those for schools or restaurants. Principal Aquifers are awarded a slightly lower priority than what's assigned to Primary Aquifers by the Department of Health. Principal Aquifers could become Primary Aquifers depending on future public water supply use. The Principal Aquifers in the state are indicated on this map in orange.


NYS primary and principal aquifers are overlaid by sand and gravel, which are highly permeable. They are also relatively close to the surface. Surface contamination via spills, leaks, and runoff are the chief concern for protecting primary and principal aquifers.


In order to protect Primary Aquifers, DEC will not allow well pads within their boundaries, or anywhere within a 500 foot buffer. As for Principal Aquifers, well pad development will be allowed. However, site-specific State Environmental Quality reviews (SEQRA) and a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit are required. After two years, the DEC will review these policies in light of NYS experiences drilling in the Marcellus Shale.


The federal Environmental Protection Agency awarded the water sources for both New York City and the City of Syracuse a Filtration Avoidance Determination status, commonly referred to as FAD. This means that these drinking water sources are unfiltered. Heightened public health sensitivities are associated with unfiltered surface water systems. The only treatment that these drinking waters receive before human consumption is basic disinfection. There is no application of widely employed treatment measures such as chemical coagulation or physical filtration to remove pathogens, sediments, organic matter or other contaminants from the drinking water.


Instead, these municipalities must ensure the quality of their drinking water using principles of source water protection and a multi-barrier approach. Because there is no mechanism in place to remove contaminants once they have entered the water, management programs focus on systematically preventing contaminants from reaching the water in the first place. The critical potential for contamination of these two unfiltered water supplies stems from human activities that place contaminants on the ground that can be washed into reservoirs and tributaries. Filtration avoidance also requires that a watershed control program be implemented to minimize microbial contamination of the source water. This program must identify, monitor and control manmade and naturally occurring activities that are detrimental to water quality such as large-scale development and deforestation. The watershed control program must also be able to control activities through land ownership or written agreements.


These figures indicate the two FAD water sources in NYS. On the left is the Catskill and Delaware watersheds, which supply NYC with the bulk of its drinking water needs. On the right is the Skaneateles Lake watershed that provides Syracuse with its drinking water. Each watershed's approximate location in the state in indicated in the center figure.


No well pad will be allowed inside a FAD watershed, or within 4,000 feet of any FAD boundary.


This is a summary of groundwater and surface water source contaminants. Surface spills, leaks, and runoff all pose risks to drinking water. Methane migration from gas wells also poses a risk. However, the hydraulic fracturing process itself is not a risk to drinking water.


Well pad setbacks are intended to safeguard drinking water against significant adverse impacts associated with surface spills and leaks. Setbacks are measured from the closest edge of the well pad to the water source, rather than from the well head itself. This is because the well pad acts a bit like a bath tub. If a spill were to occur anywhere in a bath tub, the contaminant could spread anywhere within the tub, but also would be fully contained. Likewise, drilling-related activities can happen anywhere within the well pad. Drilling related site disturbances are prohibited within 2,000 feet of public drinking supplies, including supply wells, reservoirs, natural lakes, man-made impoundments and river or stream intakes. The DEC will re-evaluate this policy after three years of issuing permits in NYS. Private water wells and domestic-supply springs will be protected by a 500 foot setback, unless waived by the landowner.


Well pads must be set at least 150 feet away from a perennial or intermittent stream, or a storm drain, lake, or pond. A tributary of a public water supply is protected by a 500 foot setback.


This figure provides a handy visual summary of the proposed well pad setbacks.


The air quality section of the revised draft SGEIS found in sections 6.5 and 7.5 starts out by explaining what regulations could apply to HVHF drilling in New York and then lists a hosts of federal and state regulations and definitions. Beginning with a regulatory overview is a different approach than has been used in other sections of the SGEIS, and its important to note that the USEPA in the midst of making new rules and performance standards that will apply to the oil & gas industry and specifically to HVHF drilling. The EPA was sued by two environmental groups and must now issue final standards on air toxics for the industry in 2012. More on this as we explain a bit about air emissions.


This is an example of a drilling rig used on shales like the Marcellus on a site covering about 3 and a half acres. To drill the well and extract the gas, operators use drilling engines, drilling air compressors, and completion engines. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published a panoramic view of a Marcellus Shale well site in the drilling and completion phases; check it out by clicking the link above.


Pictured above on the left is a natural gas drilling rig powered by several large diesel engines about 5000 hp worth equipped with emission controls known as Selective Catalytic Reducers or SCR, shown in more detail in the photo on the bottom left. On the right is a fracturing system installed on a trailer. These are examples of engines that meet EPA Tier 2 emissions standards Tiers run from 0 to 4 for nonroad diesel engines and the DEC proposes that this be the minimum standard for drilling engines in New York. All engines must also run on ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. Tier 2 and 3 engines comprise about 70% of the industrys rigs and meet the DECs requirements for particulates. For emissions calculations, drilling equipment is considered temporary, since the wells can be drilled and completed within a year.


When reading the air quality section its fairly easy to get lost in paragraphs made up mostly of acronyms so heres a bit of translation. HAPs are Hazardous Air Pollutants. The Clean Air Act is an enormously complex national regulation signed into law in 1970 and it defines the EPAs responsibility to protect and improve the nations air quality. Setting New Source Performance Standards, or NSPS, are part of that responsibility. The Clean Air Act does give states the primary authority to manage air quality but they must develop State Implementation Plans to comply with federal law. Whats important here in the revised draft SGEIS are the EPAs ambient air quality standards, which they set for six common air pollutants. These are referred to as criteria pollutants because the EPA relies on scientific criteria to guide their judgment for whats OK for public health and welfare and whats not. The DEC addresses five of these six pollutants in relation to hydraulic fracturing in the SGEIS. Much of the new air quality assessment done by the DEC in this draft is based on the NOx and SOx standards updated by the EPA in 2010. You can click the links above to learn more about the field pilot program the EPA is launching to collect data to help them form a multi-pollutant standard related to NOx and SOx.


Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are by definition reactive. They react in the air along with sunlight to form ozone and particulate matter. So when VOCs get together with NOx, they literally cook and form smog. This may sound familiar from LA and Houston, both classified by the EPA as places with severe smog problems. There are many VOCs out there, but both the DEC and the EPA are particularly concerned about benzene as a carcinogen. A few months ago the EPA proposed rules on VOC emissions as they relate to the oil and gas industry and specifically the first proposed federal air standards for HVHF wells. More on that shortly.


As the initial look at emissions in the 2009 draft indicated some issues with levels of particulates and did not include the updates to NOx and SOx the EPA made in 2010, the DEC modeled two years of air quality data from six sites Albany, Syracuse, Binghamton, Jamestown, Buffalo, and the Village of Montgomery all within either Marcellus or the Utica Shale. In this, DEC also explained to commenters on the last draft that this twelve years total look is a more conservative analysis than the EPA standard of five years. All emissions estimates were based on the assumption that drilling and fracturing would not happen at the same time at a single well pad. As mentioned before, the estimates are also based on four wells per pad per year so if the emissions standards were met in the 2009 draft, there was no update in this draft.


Heres a quick rundown of the equipment associated with HVHF and what emissions they produce, taken directly from the SGEIS. The DEC calculates emissions based on a 5400Hp drilling rig and a 2300Hp fracturing engine just like the photos in the earlier slide. Drilling engines are rated in tiers according to the amount of emissions they produce, and if they do not meet the Tier 2 requirement theyll have to be retrofitted with exhaust treatments to capture particulates as well as Nox. Although fracturing engines will run for about 2000 hours a year as they go from well pad to well pad every couple weeks, the DEC has calculated emissions based on a 24 hour/365 day a year operation.


Compressor stations move natural gas through pipelines using engines that compress the gas and are spaced between 40 and 100 miles apart. Permits for these stations will be issued by the NYS Public Service Commission, the lead agency for that process, on a case-by-case basis. But the associated air permit application for that facility would be reviewed by the DEC following the US EPAs determination process. This is a photo of a compressor station exhaust system.


According to the EPAs regulatory impact analysis, the process of HVHF vents 23 tons of VOCs versus .1 tons using conventional drilling. If youre interested in where the EPA stands on on air emissions and the oil & gas industry, click the fact sheet for a quick read. For more complete analysis, click the technical information link for more documents made available for public comment. The EPA held a series of public hearings on the rule changes and you can watch video and listen to audio from those meetings at the link above. Additionally, the EPA recently extended the public comment period on these proposed rules on HVHF and you can click above to include your comment until November 30th.



Natural gas is composed primarily of methane, pictured on the right. Both government and industry have been aware of the role of methane in greenhouse gas emissions for some time, and the EPA has furthered research on methane emissions through the voluntary Natural Gas STAR program. But the DEC is suggesting that proof of participation in the STAR program be a prerequisite for a greenhouse gas mitigation plan, and thus, part of the conditions to receive a permit for HVHF drilling. See appendix 23, 24, 25 for further information on the Natural Gas STAR program these are short memoranda explaining how the program works.


The DEC is proposing a greenhouse gas mitigation plan be part of the HVHF permitting process. The US EPA estimates that 90% of gas vented during well completion can be recovered using reduced emissions completions, sometimes referred to as green completions. Portable equipment processes the gas, capturing it for sale rather than venting it into the air. As methane is colorless and odorless, it must be detection using infrared cameras or vapor analyzers as part of the proposed Leak Detection and Repair Program. The DEC plans to study usage of reduced emissions completions two years after the first well is drilled in New York and then consider whether it should be a requirement for HVHF permitting.



Much of the interest in emissions is in the conversion of methane to its CO2 equivalent; this is known as its GWP, or Global Warming Potential, measured on a 20-year, 100-year, or 500-year horizon. GWP is a measure of how much heat is trapped by a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Many studies have been released recently, some informal, some in peerreviewed journals, evaluating the potential for GWP as a result shale gas drilling in terms of how much is leaked and when. It is calculated over 20 years in the case of Professor Howarths study, or 100 years in Professor Cathles study. Click the link on the left for a letter by Robert Howarth, Renee Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University on methane and GHG emissions in the journal of Climatic Change in April 2011. Click the link on the right for a Cornell Professor Cathles response to Professor Howarths study. Click the link at the bottom for the National Energy Technology Labs presentation at the Cornell University Lecture Series this past May.


Comments from last draft indicated extensive concern on potential for gas migration which results from poor casing and cementing of a well. As Rima mentioned earlier, gas can migrate into underground sources of drinking water this way. The response in the current revised draft is to point readers to Chapter 9 of the 1992 GEIS. The DEC describes the proposed mitigation measure intermediate casing on page 7-52 of the revised draft SGEIS. While this represents an additional barrier, the EPA has recently studied cement sheath defects and what happens when well integrity is compromised. See the above links for further details on these studies.


Ecoregions are where our air and water sections combine. This is an EPA map of the 22 acid-sensitive ecoregions in the United States. The EPA is planning a 5-year field pilot program to study 3 to 5 of these regions to help establish a multi pollutant standard. Theyre planning to use CASTNET sites, of which New York State has three: one in Ulster County, one in the Adirondacks, and one in Tompkins County. The Clean Air Status and Trends Network (or CASTNET) is a collaborative effort between the EPA and the National Park Service to assess trends in air quality due to changes in pollutant emissions.



Since the 2009 draft, the DEC has made significant additions to the SGEIS regarding habitat protections. In this section I will be covering the impacts and proposed protections of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as briefly touching on endangered species and stateowned lands.



First, I'll give a quick crash course in ecosystems, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation. An ecosystem is a natural system in a given geographic area that is made up of all its living and non-living components such as animals, plants, and fungi, air, water, soil, and rock, and topography.



In ecosystems, individual components interact with all other components, creating an exceedingly complex system. Disturbances can have far-reaching and cascading effects that are difficult to predict. And there is still a lot we don't know how ecosystems function. This figure is a simplistic diagram of a forest ecosystem and how a few of its components interact.



Habitat loss occurs when a habitat is damaged or destroyed severely enough so that it no longer supports naturally occurring species, and no longer functions in its natural state. Habitat fragmentation can be defined as the breaking up of continuous habitat into smaller patches. A forest edge is the transition area between a forest stand and a different ecosystem type such as a clearing. The area of forest along the edge has different characteristics than the interior core of a forest stand, such as differences in humidity, soil moisture, light, and canopy cover. These so-called edge effects change habitat conditions that affect sensitive wildlife and plant species that require interior forest conditions. Ecosystem services are the resources and processes that ecosystems may provide that humans benefit from in some capacity. Examples include: carbon storage, flood protection, clean air, and recreational opportunities.



Both habitat losses and fragmentation reduce the total area of habitat. Fragmentation isolates populations from each other, which can reduce a species' genetic diversity and lead to inbreeding. Large forested patches are especially valuable because of their large core areas. In fact, many forest and grassland dependent species require a minimum size of core habitat in order to sustain their populations. The figure on this slide illustrates the impacts of habitat fragmentation. On the left side of the figure, a forest patch with a large core area supports multiple species that are dependent on that core forest habitat. The patch also supports various species that thrive in the forest edge habitat. When the large patch is fragmented into two smaller patches, core habitat is lost and the two new core patches no longer meet the minimum requirements of some core species. In the illustration, bears are an example of wildlife that can no longer be supported by the fragmented patch. In contrast, when the patch is fragmented, new edge habitat is created and provides additional habitat for edge species. The basic result of fragmentation is that the species that require a minimum core patch size end up suffering, while edge species are more likely to thrive.



Now that we've got the basics of habitat disturbance out of the way, we can ask the question, How does o



The 2008 study by Wilbert and others measured the degree of fragmentation in a gas field and tied it to im



They found that the area disturbed by drilling operations increased as pad density increased, which if you t



The researchers recommended that before development even begins, landscape-level planning and infrastr



The 2002 study by Weller and others identified impacts of fragmentation by spatially analyzing a Wyomin



The researchers of this study found that while the physical footprint of all gas infrastructure amounted to o



This study concluded that the impacts on wildlife extend beyond the direct effects of the physically altered



The DEC proposed a list of Best Management Practices to reduce direct impacts on land disturbance. The



The DEC chose to focus on impacts on two major ecosystem types that occur in the Marcellus Shale: grass



57% of the surface area that overlays the Marcellus Shale is forested, while 28% is grassland or agricultur Large forest patches provide ecosystem services such as carbon storage, flood protection, clean air, and rec



The Johnson 2010 study investigated impacts in Pennsylvania. This study sought to create a credible proje



This is a summary of the average spatial disturbance of well pads in forested areas. The average well pad



The Johnson study also found that forest impacts could be reduced by relocating well pads to open areas o The DEC determined that similar to Pennsylvania, New York State will experience a combined direct and



So now that we've covered impacts we can move on to protections. The DEC has designated key habitat f



There are 8 grassland focus areas in NYS. 4 overlap with the Marcellus Shale. To be designated a focus a



22% of the land area that overlays the Marcellus Shale is contained within the grassland focus areas. Howe



Forest focus areas were determined based on size, landscape context, and the minimum size a forest stand



Like grassland focus areas, no surface disturbances will be allowed in forest focus area patches that are lar



There are still some unanswered questions when it comes to habitat loss and fragmentation. This section o Another issue that was not addressed is how we may be able to protect wildlife from increased traffic. As



On to endangered species. There are 18 endangered or threatened species that can be found in the Marcell



This map shows areas of concern for endangered or threatened species in the Marcellus Shale region. The



Finally, we come to DEC's proposed policy with regards to state forests, wildlife management areas, and p



The revised draft SGEIS begins by explaining that the DECs expectation is that public comments will focus on revisions made since the last draft as weve made every attempt to do in this presentation. As part of the SEQR process that we discussed earlier, the DEC must respond to every substantive comment. To learn more about the SEQR Act and the process the DEC must go through to take action under that law. It is probably not coincidental that the last revision to the SEQR Handbook was made shortly after the release of the 1992 GEIS and that this latest version was released in 2010. The public comment period on the SGEIS and the proposed regulations ends at the close of business at the DEC on December 12th, 2011.



When commenting on the SGEIS, make sure it is in your own words. The DEC will not accept phone calls, faxes, or emails for their official record on the SGEIS. You must mail a letter to them at 625 Broadway in Albany, 12233, or click the web-based comment form link above. Above are links to find your New York State Senator or Assembly representative as well as direct comment links for the offices of both Governor Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. It bears repeating: The public comment period on the SGEIS and the proposed regulations ends at the close of business at the DEC on December 12th, 2011.



Bring your questions to Cornell faculty and staff for a CaRDI webinar on the draft SGEIS on Wednesday, November 9th from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Click the link above to register for that event. The chart above lists the dates, times, and locations of the public hearings the DEC will hold on HVHF in New York State.



A special thanks to the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University for their support on natural gas drilling research.



In conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Community and Regional Development Institute has published and linked to a vast array of resources on natural gas drilling. Follow the Natural Gas Resource Center link above to this and many other presentations and publications from industry and academia. There you can find this presentation in full as well as in easy-to-go pdfs of each section water, air, and ecosystems. We hope youve enjoyed this presentation on updates to the revised draft SGEIS from CaRDI. If you have questions, please contact Rima Shamieh at ks382@cornell.edu or C.J. Randall at cjr222@cornell.edu.



If you have questions, please contact Rima Shamieh at ks382@cornell.edu or C.J. Randall at cjr222@cornell.edu.