Traffic ImpactsThe DEC is not unmindful of the devastating impact that shale gasindustrialization can have on Upstate towns.
It just does nothing about it. Itsoptions are limited – but it shrinks from holding the industry accountable. Thenumber of heavy truck trips to a drilling site can number in the tens of thousandsover a matter of months – often over narrow country roads that were neverintended for such heavy industrial use. The number of trips to a service yardnumber in the hundreds of thousands. The state has no mechanism to recoup thecosts to repairs state roads – since, under New York law, the state cannot enter intoroad use agreements. Towns and counties can require users to pay for damagesdone to town and county roads, but few have enacted such road use laws. The costto repair state and local road can, according to NY DOT estimates, run into thehundreds of millions of dollars annually - $90 to $156 million for the state, $121 to$222 million for towns and counties.
The state of New York has no funding sourceto pay for these costs, since it is one of the few places on the planet where gasproduction is not directly taxed at the wellhead.
The DSGEIS contains detailed requirements for applicants in preparingTransportation Plans. The DSGEIS recognizes that Transportation Plans are necessary because cumulative truck traffic could adversely impact local roads. The DSGEIS setsforth potential mitigation measures, including requiring Local Road Use Agreements.(DSGEIS Exec. Sum. at 19; see generally DSGEIS at 7-136 to 7-138.)The Proposed Regulations, however, have a far less comprehensiverequirement for a “Transportation Plan.” The Proposed Regulations do not evenmention Local Road Use Agreements. This is surprising because the Department statesthat Local Road Use Agreements will be the “primary mechanism by which localgovernments can hold well operators accountable for damages and repairs to roads, bridges, and drainage structures that may be impacted by their excess use.” (DSGEIS at7-138.) In addition, the Local Road Use Agreement requirement contemplated by theDSGEIS appears to create a loophole, which would enable applicants to avoid enteringinto such agreements.