Assembly Unanimously Passes Natural Gas Advisory Board Bill Authored By Lupardo

Lupardo bill re-invigorates existing board that hasn’t met in years and includes representation from municipalities and landowners

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that the Assembly unanimously passed (147-0) legislation she authored to re-invigorate the defunct New York State Oil, Natural Gas and Solution Mining Advisory Board. The board will provide assistance, discussion and recommendations to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the development, operation and regulation of the oil and natural gas industry.

“The board was already in existence, but hasn’t met in a number of years,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo, a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee in the Assembly. “Clearly, natural gas exploration and drilling will be on the increase in Broome County and across New York State in the coming years and we must be sure that there is an active and engaged group of industry, land owner and municipal representatives who are discussing and making recommendations to the Department of Environmental Conservation on needed regulations and programs.”

"The newly reformed Oil, Natural Gas and Solution Mining Advisory Board will allow landowners and others with a vested interest in each of these issues to have a voice in advising the Department on how to both regulate and promote the natural gas industry," said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.

"The ability to provide this guidance is important to ensure the state's ability to capture the economic benefits of this burgeoning industry while, at the same time, respecting the rights and needs of impacted landowners and the communities in which they reside. We are greatly appreciative of Assemblywoman Lupardo's leadership on this issue," concluded Norton.

The current New York State Oil, Natural Gas and Solution Mining Advisory Board has not met since 1994. Assemblywoman Lupardo’s legislation would now require them to report to the Legislature by December 1, 2010.

In order to facilitate a greater array of viewpoints, the legislation also expands membership on the board to at least two members who are either landowners with current oil or gas leases or representatives of a municipality in which there is current oil or gas exploration and drilling being performed. Additionally, the number of board members is expanded from thirteen members to fifteen members to provide for appointments from the minority leaders of the Assembly and Senate.

The same-as bill in the Senate (S.3657-A) is sponsored by Senator David Valesky. The bill has already advanced through the Environmental Conservation committee in the Senate earlier this year and had been scheduled to be taken up by the Senate Finance committee this week.

Given the recent turmoil in the State Senate, Assemblywoman Lupardo said the fate of the bill was uncertain at this time. She is urging the Senate to not stall this critical legislation before this year’s scheduled legislative session ends this month.

NOTE: Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo will be in her district office and available to the local media on Friday, June 12th, at 2:00 p.m. to discuss her legislation and the recent developments in the State Senate.