Research

New York State Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Public Utilities Lake Erie Offshore Drilling Files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series includes reports, hearing testimony, transcripts of proceedings, press clippings, and correspondence pertaining to offshore drilling for natural gas (hydrocarbons) under Lake Erie. Included is a report recommending repeal of the prohibition against leasing and drilling for gas beneath Lake Erie or its shoreline; a report to the legislature on development of natural gas reserves; and an environmental assessment report by the firm of Lawler, Matusky & Skelly, Engineers.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
0.5 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
1975-1977
Series Number:
L0222

Administrative History

Offshore drilling beneath Lake Erie was one of the most significant energy resource issues of the 1970s. The state had prohibited drilling for natural gas under Lake Erie since 1969. Opinions changed because of the energy crisis and the success of Canadian drilling (Lake Erie gas made up 70% of the natural gas produced in Province of Ontario in 1976). A shortage of natural gas and increased distribution prices caused the Senate to reexamine the legislative ban through the Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Public Utilities. James T. McFarland was chair of the committee.

The committee concluded that the rich natural gas supply beneath the lake could be developed with minimal environmental degradation; that the authority to grant leases should be subject to strict control, with supervision and safeguards by the Department of Environmental Conservation; and that appropriate legislation for an environmental impact study be approved immediately, to offset increasing cost and possible depletion of New York fields by Canadian drillers. Legislation followed. Chapter 758 of the Laws of 1971 amended the Conservation Law (Laws of 1969, Chapter 621) to remove prohibitions on drilling and leasing the state land.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of reports, hearing testimony, clippings, and related materials pertaining to the issue of offshore drilling for natural gas (hydrocarbons) under Lake Erie. Public hearings were held in 1975, at which producers, consumers, and industrial, environmental and civic groups testified. There was also extensive press coverage of the issue.

Included is a report by the committee (February 1976) recommending removal of the prohibition against leasing and drilling for gas beneath Lake Erie or its shoreline; and a report to the legislature by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on development of natural gas reserves (February 1977), including an environmental assessment prepared for the DEC by the firm of Lawler, Matusky & Skelly Engineers (January 1977). Transcriptions of proceedings and copies of hearing testimony and letters on both sides of the issue are also present.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Custodial History

This accession resulted from a project by Archives staff in 1997 to accession or integrate estrayed or unidentified records.

Access Terms

Geographic Name(s):
Subject(s):
Genre(s):
Function(s):