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Write to your local officials - letter templates

Letter #1

As a landowner in the town of xx, I have become increasingly frustrated by those who are opposed to the possibility of increased exploration in this region of the state. While natural gas exploration has been conducted safely in New York for decades, the public has repeatedly been exposed to misinformation and gross exaggerations by environmental extremists whose accusations are nothing more than scare tactics.

Not a single documented case of drinking water contamination has ever been credibly tied to hydraulic fracturing. Nevertheless, opponents of hydraulic fracturing have asked regulators to produce lists of each individual case in which a well was breached or any amount of methane compromised the integrity of the well. What fails to make the headlines is that regulators have found that none of these cases had anything to do with hydraulic fracturing.

Drilling and hydraulic fracturing are two distinct processes. The impacts of hydraulic fracturing – a process of releasing trapped natural gas by pumping a mixture of primary water and sand into shale deposits deep under ground -- has been scrutinized by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and is examined even further in the departments draft environmental impact statement (SGEIS).

State experts are requiring the disclosure of all materials used in the process to determine if there are real or potential threats to our environment, including to the quantity and quality of our ground and surface water. They apply similar scrutiny to other businesses that use chemicals and large volumes of water, such as golf courses, paper mills, and electricity generators.

However unlike these other activities – such as golf course maintenance, where it is necessary to apply various pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers directly to the ground, without recovery -- drilling occurs in a closed system.

Please understand I know clean water is essential to all life forms and must be protected. After all, I live here, work here and raise my family here. I also believe we can explore for natural gas safely, while protecting the environment. New York’s oil and gas producers have operated in a safe and environmentally sound way for decades. In fact, there are more than 13,000 active wells around our state.

Just recently, instead of staying and expanding in Horseheads, NY, Fortuna Energy made the decision to move much of its’ office to Pittsburg, PA – taking with it many jobs. Natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale formation holds tremendous economic potential for New York, and it will push the U.S. Toward energy independence. But we are letting this opportunity slip away.

Letter #2

I am writing in response to the article titled, “ xxx

Hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well-regulated and environmentally sound practice. In New York, every step of the process – from the initial boring of the well to its sealing after it has run dry – is conducted in accordance with strict state requirements.

Hydraulic fracturing has been used for decades in New York. In 1963, the state’s oil and gas regulatory program was established and has been through two substantial revisions – the first in 1981 and the second as recently as 2005. Since that time, the program has effectively protected New York’s ground water and drinking water sources. This has been accomplished through the administration of this comprehensive program by the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through a permitting program and regulations that mitigate any potential environmental impact of drilling and well operation.

To protect the environment during and after oil and gas extraction, the DEC imposes some of the most stringent drilling permit requirements in the U.S. These requirements inhibit oil spills, prevent ground water contamination and require proper disposal for all wastes and proper containment of drilling and fracturing fluids. Drilling permits also protect groundwater by mandating a casing and cementing program for each well, which prevents the flow of oil, gas or salt water between underground formations. Drilling rules and regulations require setbacks from municipal water wells, surface water bodies and streams. Furthermore, these regulations are strengthened in the recently released draft SGEIS.

Contrary to popular belief, the industry also is regulated by the Clean Water Act. It applies to surface discharges association with drilling and production and storm water runoff from production sites to certain waters. Likewise, the Clean Air Act limits air emissions from engines, gas processing equipment, and other sources associated with drilling and production.

As a landowner in XX County, I care about our land, our home and our state. This industry is well regulated and I believe that together we can provide a much need boost to our local economic in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

Letter #3

I am a New York landowner and I am in favor of clean, safe drilling for natural gas. I know you have heard a lot of opposition to drilling from anti-drilling groups. But you have yet to hear from us, the landowners. We are the silent majority.

Learning about gas drilling from anti-drilling groups is like going to an “informational meeting on air travel” only to be shown pictures of every plane crash from the last decade. The anti-drilling groups have spread misinformation and, more importantly, they have distorted the facts surrounding drilling. Their arguments are shortsighted and alarmist and we refuse to stay silent any longer.

Like anti-drilling groups, we landowners oppose pollution. But we know that, with strong oversight from an empowered Department of Environmental Conservation, we can accomplish clean drilling. We also recognize that a common sense and rational approach to gas drilling is needed. We must balance both the risks and rewards of drilling in an intelligent way.

The actual risks of drilling for natural gas are miniscule. The benefits, however, are extraordinary and they will inure the entire state of New York. Owners of small parcels of land and big farms alike will reap financial rewards from leasing bonuses and royalties. Communities will be revitalized with an influx of cash that they can invest in small businesses, home improvements, farming and new charities. Working-class people will find an abundance of high-paying jobs as gas companies expand in our state. There will be a multiplier effect as all these dollars circulate through local economies.

The State of New York also stands to reap a phenomenal harvest of tax revenues from gas-related activity. These revenues will strengthen every aspect of our state finances and will positively affect every resident throughout the state.

The anti-drilling groups would have you believe that these benefits are nothing more than a pipedream. But we, the landowners, know that these benefits are real.

New York cannot afford to let this promising opportunity slip through its hands. Yet, this is what is happening every day. Gas companies are walking away from New York because of uncertainty when and if they will be allowed to work here and because of objections to drilling in the NYC watershed. They would rather invest their exploration dollars in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Statistics

There are 194,500 acres represented in the Coalition as of 8/18/2010. The latest gas offers in New York State are $3000/acre with 20% royalties.

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