Chesapeake in trouble in PA; Is NY paying attention?

I've been blogging a lot about Marcellus gas drilling in Pennsylvania this week, because (as has frankly been the case for more than a year now) you can't turn around without running into another company in trouble for causing problems.  This time it's Chesapeake, which - for the second time since March 1 - had a road use permit revoked for failing to deal with the damage it caused from heavy truck traffic.

The warning signs simply couldn't be louder from across the border that accidents, as well as intentional acts of negligence or malfeasance - with real world consequences for the people who live nearby - can happen when this heavy industrial activity isn't properly regulated.  As I wrote yesterday, this kind of behavior resulted in stiff penalties for Cabot arising out of its multiple missteps in Dimock.  At some point, you'd think the companies would come around to the view that having strong regulations in place - ones that apply to their competitors and them alike, and that reflect the "best practices" they claim to want to live by - might be less expensive than having to pay for the many mistakes that can happen when inadequate regulation reigns.

Meanwhile, New York's regulators say they are watching, yet at the same time continue to rush towards permitting of new, environmentally-risky drilling in the Marcellus Shale.  This would be a colossal mistake.  We have one, unique chance here in New York to get it right - to draw the line and say no drills here unless and until the industry can demonstrate it can be done without the accumulating disasters occurring across our border.

There's still time.  Let Governor Paterson and the state Department of Environmental Conservation know our guard is not down.  We are watching what is happening in Pennsylvania, too, and we are holding you responsible for ensuring it doesn't happen here.