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NYS DEC: Inadequate enforcement guarantees irresponsible oil and gas development in New York

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), through its Division of Mineral Resources (DMR), administers regulations and a permitting program for oil and gas drilling and well operations in the state. The Division’s mandate involves “fostering, encouragement and promotion of the development, production and utilization of… oil and gas,” as well as responsibility for enforcement of oil and gas regulations and “the prevention of pollution.”

Our review of publicly available DEC enforcement data shows that New York struggles to adequately govern its existing oil and gas wells, and DEC is not prepared to oversee the expected shale gas boom:

  • Inspections occur too infrequently and too irregularly
  • Fines are inadequate
  • Lack of data prevents public evaluation of DEC’s oversight
  • Citizen complaints are not efficiently used to improve oversight

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