OMG!! They Could Frack NYC’s CENTRAL PARK and LINCOLN CENTER! (P,S, They Could!)


(This satire courtesy of Chip Northrup)

(Rendition by Mark Ohe of what a fracked Central Park would look like!)


James “Chip” Northrup’s satiric interpretation of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) deeply flawed regulations on hyrofracked gas drilling demonstrates that current (2012-13) rules would permit massive gas drilling in New York City’s Central Park — including the Jackie O reservoir, the 59th Street pond, softball fields, and playgrounds.

Northrup’s satire carries a deadly serious message. The DEC’s regulations are so flawed and dangerous that they would actually permit gas companies to frack Central Park.


This is no mere fantasy.  If New York City (like Upstate New York farmers) signed gas leases, the DEC regulations would permit massive invasions of Central Park, just as those same regulations permit the same kinds of devastation in Upstate New York’s Southern Tier — specifically, five economically distressed rural counties –including Chenango, where Oxford is located.

So — read this and laugh –or weep.

Fracking Central Park ?

A FOIL request of the DEC has uncovered two shale gas well permit applications in New York City’s Central Park. The address on the first application is given as  Centrala Park West at W. 62nd Street.  The second is an address on Central Park East. The mineral rights owner is listed as “New York City” and the mineral leases are to N. Bedford Forrest Operating Company, of Guthrie, Oklahoma,”  ably represented by the Law Firm of Tom West. The applications are shown as exploratory or “wildcat” tests of the Olmsted Shale,  a formation of which little is known in Midtown. Target depth is 10,000 feet, which would require one of the biggest land rigs available to be brought up from the Eagle Ford field in South Texas, possibly by barge up the Hudson River.

Based on theDEC’s proposed fracking regulations, the proposed HVHF applications would be acceptable to the Department of Mineral Resources director Brad “Flat Earth” Field,since the drill pad sites are more than 500 feet from the nearest “inhabited dwellings”  on either Central Park West or East, and are more than 500 feet from the nearest “places of assembly,”  Lincoln Center or the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel.

We submitted questions to DEC spokesperson Emo deSallis, who was surprisingly responsive, answering almost immediately and with uncharacteristic candor:

Q: Do the applications meet all  of the requirements of Cuomo’s proposed fracking regs. ?

deSallis:  ”Yes, the pad sites are 500 feet from any inhabited dwelling or a place of assembly. They are not in the watershed of the New York City reservoir. Both applications qualify per the proposed setbacks in Section 560.4. ”

Will there be an SEQRA on the applications ?

deSallis: “This falls within the guidelines of the SGEIS. No SEQRA required.”:  The Central Park East permit appears to be across the street from The Pierre Hotel. .

deSallis:  Hotels are not “dwellings,” so they are not protected uses in the regulations.

What about the Jackie O Reservoir ?

deSallis: “No longer used for drinking water. The applicant plans to pump flowback into it. ”

Really ?

deSallis (snickering): “It won’t freeze. . . .”

The Central Park  West drill pad location appears to be next to or on top of the softball fields.

deSallis: “Playing fields are not a protected use by the DEC.

What about The Pond at W. 59th ?

deSallis: “Ponds are not protected under the regs. That is the site of the second permit application. They are going to drain it. ”

Isn’t fracking  banned in New York City ?

deSallis: “The Mayor signed the lease. Together with the Spectra pipeline that’s already gained a foothold in Greenwich Village, it’s part of Hizzoner’s gaseous promotion of safe fracking.

What’s good for the Catskills is good for Manhattan?

deSallis: “Something like that.”

What about the fracking flowback?

deSallis: “They propose to take the frack waste on barges to a municipal treatment plant.”

Are these horizontal wells ?

deSallis: “If they test well, they intend to run the laterals north.”

How far ?

deSallis: “Harlem. The Apollo Theater at 125th Street. 

Under the statue of Alice ?

deSallis: Pretty much parallel to the A Train.

Could it happen?  Where there’s a will, DEC regulations have paved the way!

As Central Park Goes, so Goes Upstate New York!

Thank you, Mark Ohe and Chip Northrup

The Oxford Visionaries


First drilling rigs erected only on a trial basis:

Frackin’ Lincoln Center

Albany. Tuesday February 12, 2013

In a surprise move today, Governor Cuomo has announced that a total of between 10 and  40 shale gas wells will be permitted by the DEC as “experiments in fracking,” code-named “The Manhattan Project.”  As DEC spokesman Emo DeSallis explained in an exclusive interview with NFW, “Mayor Bloomberg and the Environmental Defense Fund have encouraged us to develop safer fracking techniques by experimenting with sometest fracks before we open up the entire state to fracking.

So, as part of the DEC’s on-going outreach to the scientific community, physicians, artists, fashionistas  and journalists we thought it would be appropriate to permit the first well where a lot of New Yorkers could see how this technology has evolved. As a sort of Potemkin Well.” ”

NFW: “Where might that be ? We had heard the Southern Tier.”

DeSallis: “That’s true. Technically it is in the lower part of the state. We have selected Manhattan, Midtown actually, Lincoln Center, as the test site. Something recognizable to many of our citizens and voters, including the Mayor. Plus, of course,it had to be out of the watershed of the New York City reservoirs. The Mayor insisted on that.”

NFW: “But what about the frack truck convoys?”

DeSallis: “We think the frack truck convoys will actually kind of blend in. They’re no taller than the buses.”

NFW: “But they run those rigs 24 hours a day . . . ”

DeSallis, grinning, “New York’s the city that never sleeps.”

NFW: “Will there be any local hiring ?”

DeSallis: “That won’t be necessary. The contractor is setting up a Man Camap  in Queens to house the transient crews.”

NFW: “Where will the frackwaste go ?”

DeSallis: “The operator, Chesapeake, has contracted with some municipal treatment plants on Long Island to mix with the frack waste they are already bringing over from Pennsylvania.  Plus they’ve made a deal tospread it on streets as de-icer in Great Neck. And dump the rest in the Jackie O Reservoir in Central Park.  The operator has leased that.”

NFW: “Sounds like you’ve thought of everything.”

DeSallis: “We hope so. The operator intends to spud the sucker some time between the closing night of  Das Rheingold and the dress rehearsal of Rigoletto.

NFW:  Tight schedule. Have you considerred the major risks?”

DeSallis: “We’ll there is still some risk. It may be a dry hole. And the DEC is in the business of promoting fracking.” 

NFW: “Even during a performance of La Fanciulla del West?”

DeSallis (singing): “We’ll frack Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island too….”

fracking lincoln center

Photomontage by Mark Ohe and Margery Schab