I’ve been reviewing documents the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has on the web (here), under the title, “Technical Consulting Reports Prepared in Support of the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Natural Gas Production in New York State.”   There are important global issues that stand out, which are useful to consider during the present public hearing and comment period on the dSGEIS.

As it says in the first of these documents,

Through its access to various technical resources, NYSERDA is assisting the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to address issues identified in the Final
Scope for the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS) on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program…

Here are some questions and issues:

1.  The State of New York has some of the best academic institutions in the world.  Were faculty with appropriate specialized knowledge involved here?  The list of universities and colleges with excellent faculty in the various fields necessary to wrap their arms around a lot of the issues is a long one.

2.  These reports list the firms, but I don’t find information about the project managers and authors of these reports.  The multidisciplinary aspects of environmental issues here are huge, and it is legitimate to inquire as to whether enough people in the right disciplines (and there are quite a few) had input.

3.   The second report, “Chapter 2: Water-Related Issues Associated with Gas Production in the Marcellus Shale,” was authored by URS Corporation.  But URS has a lot of work going on in the oil gas industry.  Is there, at the least, an appearance of a conflict of interest?  The URS website lists their oil and gas projects here.  It seems to me that a firm that only does environmental science and engineering (and preferably one not likely to work in New York on gas issues again) ought to be included in a meaningful way in examining the issues.