On May 15, 2012, researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo released a report concluding that New York's proposed regulatory framework would mitigate or avoid the major problems that have occurred in Pennsylvania.
The report, which examined a 44-month period between 2008 and 2011, found that 62 percent of the notices of violations issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to natural gas drillers were for administrative violations or involved pollution prevention. Thirty-eight percent of the notices (representing 845 incidents) were issued for environmental violations. Of these incidents, 25 were classified as major and 820 as minor.
The report, after examining the 25 major incidents in Pennsylvania, concluded that, under New York's proposed regulations, the underlying causes associated with these specific events could have been either entirely avoided or mitigated.
The report, which was peer-reviewed by five experts, examined 2,988 violations from 4,000 natural gas wells in Pennsylvania. It found that the percentage of violations in relation to the number of wells drilled declined from 53 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2011. It attributed the decline to improved safety by the industry and greater oversight by Pennsylvania regulators.
The report was criticized by a coalition of environmental groups called the New York Water Rangers, which called it industry propaganda.