The New York State Petroleum Council (NYSPC), a division of the American Petroleum Institute (API), announced Monday that it would conduct the first of a series of free webinars about hydraulic fracturing for the public on Wednesday.

According to the NYSPC, the webinar will begin at 1 p.m. and will be led by Greg Sovas, a former director of the division of mineral resources for the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The webinar will be presented by the Empire Energy Forum, an education advocacy group that supports shale development.

“We know that hydraulic fracturing has been used safely for more than 65 years and represents a tremendous opportunity to generate billions of dollars in economic development in New York,” NYSPC Executive Director Karen Moreau said in a statement. “This webinar is another step in our continuing efforts to provide the public — and especially those who may have questions about the process — with [the] facts.

“Mr. Sovas’ presentation will focus on what is hydraulic fracturing, how it is done, the safety measures that are taken as part of the process and how the natural gas industry will create new jobs, grow local economies and increase state and local tax revenues.

Empire Energy Forum has set up a website to register for the webinar, which is expected to last about 30 minutes.

May has been a busy month in New York for the ongoing debate over high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), which has been prohibited since a de facto moratorium was implemented in 2008 (see Daily GPI, July 28, 2008).

On May 2, a state appellate court upheld two local bans on oil and gas activities (see Shale Daily, May 6). An appeal to the top court in the state, the Court of Appeals, is reportedly under way.

Days later, a report by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research asserted that personal income could grow by 15% or more for the residents of 28 counties in New York that overlay the Marcellus Shale, if the state lifts its HVHF moratorium (see Shale Daily, May 9).