New York state appears to be on the verge of allowing hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” for oil and gas production. Fracking, along with horizontal drilling, is what has unleashed the economic potential of the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana. Meanwhile, even as South Africa eyes a severe energy shortage, environmentalists have been able to maintain a ban on fracking.
Limited, minimally-regulated hydraulic fracturing could begin in New York State as early as 2013, according to a weekend report by Albany’s Times-Union. Select environmental groups are now being privately briefed on a plan set to be unveiled “in a couple of weeks.” The plan would permit 50 wells next year, doubling to 100 the next and draw the Legislature into the fractious debate over fracking.
New York Gov. Cuomo is set to allow hydrofracking in towns that agreed with the practice, including Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga Counties. Although the report was dismissed by some as simply a trial balloon from Cuomo’s office, the news has been used to rally anti-fracking efforts.
“South Africa Fracking Ban Debated,” by The Wall Street Journal:
Africa’s biggest economy is running dangerously short of energy, even as the country sits atop what geologists say could be substantial gas reserves.
Some energy and environmental-affairs officials have said they weren’t opposed to fracking but in April 2011 a moratorium was imposed on exploration in the Karoo after an uproar from environmentalists.
A consultant’s report last year for the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated South Africa’s recoverable shale-gas resources at 486 trillion cubic feet, which would make them the fifth-largest in the world.