Regarded for its naturally-scenic landscape in Upstate New York, the Finger Lakes are situated in a region highly compromised with the operations of extraction.

The Finger Lakes overlap the geological region of Marcellus Shale, which extends beyond the state of New York and much of the northeast region of the United States. Marcellus Shale has been a sought-after natural gas resource, which has been witness to fracking in New York State as early as the 1800s. Although most drilling companies occupy the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, New York, particularly the Finger Lakes region, observed an increase of gas and oil well establishment, in part to the high activity of gas companies articulating lease agreements with private properties for gas exploration.

Kevin Kim, MLA/MRP ’21


LA 6940 Rural Adaptation Seminar

Anne Weber, Faculty Advisor


Spring 2021

Extraction in the Finger Lakes

Natural gas wells are located in various communities throughout the Finger Lakes. Auburn and Skanaeteles, nestled at the north-ends of Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, have contributed to large aggregated construction of these fracturing sites, becoming major areas for natural gas extraction. Among the several thousand currently documented wells with the New York State Department of Energy, many provide concern for their overlap with water resources in the state. 377 reported wells have been established above confined aquifers, presenting large concerns for water contamination from the process of fracturing.


As oil and natural gas processing plants began to expand production in Pennsylvania, companies began to explore sites for extraction in the Western and Upstate New York regions as early as the 1900s.

Network of Influences

This diagram organizes the network of influence through four spatial scales: the parcel in which the gas exploration occurs, the extraction and transportation extent, the local institution and activism that are involved in the practice of natural gas fracking, and the larger government legislation that responds to the practices of fracking from community constituents and pro-fracking lobbyists.

Site Operations

Fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale consists of three steps: perforation, fracturing, and extraction.