Document Type

Article

Abstract

The entire Marcellus Shale, from the Catskills of New York down to the northwestern border of West Virginia, is estimated to contain as little as 168 to as much as 516 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, resulting in major “shale play” in the region. If calculations are accurate, the Marcellus Shale may be one of the largest potential sources of any type of energy in this country. But the prospect of mining the Marcellus Shale is not without its downfalls. The extraction method to be used in these operations - a technique called hydraulic fracturing, also known as “hydro-fracking” - may have dire environmental consequences to the constitutionally protected Forest Preserve of the Catskills, the New York City Watershed and other sensitive ecosystems. Due to the potential environmental fallout associated with hydro-fracking operations, query as to whether Article XIV of the New York State Constitution would, or even should permit hydro-fracking operations thus far has been inadequately addressed. The paper seek to address these questions by a careful examination of the Forever Wild Clause, impacts of hydro-fracking, current legislative safeguards and implications of a possible amendment to Article XIV.