Thursday, January 31, 2013

Al Gore: Shale Gas a Bridge to Nowhere...

"It is increasingly clear that the net effect of shale gas on the environment may ultimately be inconsistent with its use as a bridge fuel. Global society as a whole would find it difficult to make the enormous investments necessary to switch from coal to gas, and then turn right around and make equally significant investments to substitute were nubile technologies for gas. It strains credulity. In other words, it may be a bridge to nowhere."  Al Gore

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


NY elected officials call for continued fracking moratorium

More than 600 ''Elected Officials to Protect New York" are calling on Governor Cuomo to extend the moratorium on fracking.
During a news conference in Buffalo's City Hall - East Aurora Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Weberg said she's skeptical of a process that injects precious clean water and chemicals underground.
Weberg said Albany can "follow other state's down a path of insanity" - or "lead the nation to a clean energy future."
"Fracking puts our quality of life, our property values, and the tourism that our businesses rely on at risk. The degradation to our land, air, and water, and the huge increase in truck traffic that accompanies hydraulic fracturing would threaten to unravel everything that so many have worked so hard to create and protect. The true costs of fracking will be borne by the communities; the energy companies will make off with their profits after providing short-term jobs, without accountability for the impacts that will emerge slowly and will be present for generations," said Weberg.
The group is also calling on Governor Cuomo to conduct further health studies and a "negative socio-economic impact study."

Buffalo Common Council members are joining the fight.
"Fracking could irreversibly damage the landscape, local economies, and environment that make New York special. As local officials, we’re concerned about the costs of fracking," said Niagara District Common Council member David Rivera.
Buffalo Councilmember Majority Leader Demone Smith noted “Buffalo was the first city in New York State and one of the first in the nation to pass a bill to ban fracking. Now we're calling on New York State to ensure that all New Yorkers are protected."
“Fracking will worsen climate change, when we're already paying for damage from stronger storms. Our communities in the Southern Tier are still recovering from Tropical Storm Lee, which caused over $1 billion in damage,” said Dominic Frongillo, Deputy Town Supervisor in Caroline. “Taxpayers are stuck paying the bill.  How much more will fracking cost our towns and cities?”
State regulators have to signal a decision on hydraulic fracturing by Feb. 13th  if they hope to meet an end of February deadline for finalizing proposed regulations.
“We urge Governor Cuomo to make New York a world leader by doubling down on clean energy, the energy of the future," said Rivera

Friday, January 18, 2013

Global Anti-Fracking Movement


By Mike Ludwig
On July 28, more than 5,000 people from all over the U.S., and various parts of the world including Australia, united on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol demanding Congress take immediate action to stop fracking. Photo by Stefanie Spear
The bitter battle over fracking has gone global, and according to pro-business consultants, the oil and gas industry has every reason to be concerned.
Oil and gas rigs are popping up in communities across the world as the fossil fuels industry races to exploit reserves with the controversial drilling technique known as fracking. In response, a global anti-fracking movement has emerged, and activists are winning victories in countries across world.
A report recently released by the international consulting group Control Risks warns the oil and gas industry that it has underestimated the “sophistication, reach and influence” of the global anti-fracking movement. The report contends the opposition is not simply a spotty, not-in-my-backyard phenomenon “masquerading as environmentalism,” but a diverse and well-organized coalition that is unlikely to be swayed by the industry’s well-funded public relation campaigns.
The report’s findings may come as no surprise to activists. The grassroots anti-fracking movement spread “organically” across the world as drilling continued to expand and spark controversy in new areas, according to the Control Risks report. Online social networking, rising media coverage and widespread distribution of Josh Fox‘s controversial 2010 documentary Gasland has stimulated the movement, and now there are hundreds of anti-fracking groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia and countries across Africa and Europe.
Fracking Unites Activists and Communities
The global anti-fracking movement may be grassroots in nature, but communities and activists across the world share the same concerns about the “significant” impacts of fracking, according to Mark Schlosberg, an anti-fracking organizer with the U.S.-based group Food & Water Watch.
Environmentalists and drilling opponents say fracking threatens to drain and contaminate local water supplies, cause air pollution, industrialize pristine rural areas and contribute to global warming.
“The issues people are facing in different parts of the world are the [same] issues that people are facing in the U.S.,” Schlosberg said.
Schlosberg said fracking directly affects those living near the rigs, but climate change and dependence on fossil fuels affects everyone. Recent studies that fracking operations can release considerable amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas, and concerns over global warming have united climate change activists with the global anti-fracking movement.
In many parts of the world, activists also are pushing the industry to invest locally and provide better economic compensation to the communities where drilling is taking place, according to the Control Risks report.
Global Activism Puts Fracking at Risk
The most significant “risk” posed by the anti-fracking movement is bans and moratoriums on drilling, according to Control Risks.
In France, fracking was banned indefinitely in 2011 after significant public outcry, and the French government reaffirmed the ban in September 2012.
Food & Water Watch, which supports a national ban on fracking in the U.S., has tracked 308 local measures to address fracking in municipalities across the nation. Some communities banned fracking altogether, while others put limits on fracking activity or symbolically endorsed statewide bans.
Public outcry also has pushed some governments to conduct safety reviews of fracking that could pave the way for tighter regulations.
Under orders from Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently conducting a study on fracking and its potential impacts on water supplies. The agency recently released a progress report, but a final report will not be released until 2014. Meanwhile, fracking is rapidly expanding across much of the U.S. with little federal regulatory oversight.
The industry also should be wary of radical and direct action activists, according to Control Risks. Activists have peacefully blockaded fracking sites in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Poland as direct action-oriented environmental groups like Earth First! rally opposition to fracking. Isolated acts of minor vandalism and sabotage to drilling equipment also have been reported in the U.S. and Poland.
“They would not have commissioned this report if they didn’t think the anti-fracking movement was effective,” Schlosberg said.
Control Risks spokesman Chris Levy told Truthout the company released the report to attract the fracking industry to its consulting services. The firm helps companies and large industries manage “hostile environments” and threats to international business ranging from anti-corruption investigations to anti-industry activism, kidnappings, maritime piracy and even terrorism, according to the firm’s website.
Steve Everley, a spokesman for Energy In Depth, a U.S.-based information service created and funded by oil and gas industry groups, said the Control Risks report accepts that fracking can be done safely, and he is not convinced that the anti-fracking movement has been successful in stopping drilling with “false claims and manufactured science.”
“As for the supposed successes that opponents have had, I think they’re pretty much limited to headlines and maybe an uptick in their fundraising efforts, because they really haven’t stopped the industry from drilling wells,” said Everley, who added that fracking is creating jobs across the country and expanding domestic energy production.
Schlosberg, however, said the report demonstrates what activists already know—the global anti-fracking movement is a threat, and the industry will continue to ramp up its tactics to “ram this through.”
The Control Risks report advises the industry to quell the opposition by reforming its practices. Instead of flatly denying any wrongdoing and accusing reported fracking victims of spreading “fear” and “hysteria,” fracking companies should acknowledge the negative impacts of drilling and the grievances of those impacted, like residents who believe their water supplies have been contaminated. Frackers also should put more resources toward protecting the environment and disclose the chemicals they pump into the ground during drilling, the report said. Activists in the U.S. have fought for such disclosure for years.
Control Risks also suggests that simply telling the public that drilling will lower energy prices is not enough to gain support, and the industry should “create more winners” in the communities where fracking occurs. Drilling firms should invest in communities by buying local supplies, hiring and training local workers and paying all required taxes. Most crucially, drillers should make long-term local investments to ensure sustained economic benefits to communities, even after drilling is complete.
Schlosberg, however, said environmentalists and anti-fracking activists want long-term solutions to the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, not simple reforms offered by an already wealthy industry. Activists, he said, must remain “very vigilant, mobilized and organized” as the industry wakes up to the reality of the global anti-fracking movement.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


The Fracking DEC Gets Sued !

Soon. Now that over 200,000 comments have been delivered to the DEC’s bunker. The DEC has known for some time that they were going to be sued over their comic opera mishandling of the fracking regulations. And now, Team Slottje have laid out the why and how of such an action. As Paul Gallay of Riverkeeper, a former DEC employee, neatly summarized at the Assembly hearing yesterday, the DEC’s mismanagement of the proposed fracking regulations has been the worst procedural mess in the agency’s history. So they set themselves up – to get sued. Accordingly, Team Slottje has sent them a demand letter. Now largely a matter of determining where Doc Martens and his lawyers are hunkered down.
The DEC’s Jekyl & Hyde approach to fracking regulations is fundamentally flawed because the DEC is a house divided – part environmental agency – as evidenced in the environmental regulatory overlay, the dSGEIS (which we do not have as a reference) and part minerals management agency, whose lack of concern for landowners, the general public or the environment is evidenced by the proposed drilling regulations, which, absent enforcement funding from a gas production tax or any autonomous environmental oversight, are the worst in North America.
So the DEC has effectively abandoned all of its environmental responsibilities – in an effort to push some stillborn drilling regulations hastily out the door. In so doing, it has made several fundamental errors, as Team Slottje detail in the attached demand letter to the DEC, and I summarize below. 
1. The DEC failed to hold the required public hearing on the proposed drilling regulations within 30 days – meaning by January 11th. (The January 10th hearing was the Assembly committee’s hearing, not the DEC’s, and the DEC failed to send a representative.)
A. The HVHF Rule Making Notice was issued in violation of ECL § 03-0301(2)(a) which requires that the DEC Commissioner hold a “public hearing relating to the  subject of such [environmental standards, criterion, rule or regulation or change thereto]…. not less than 30 days after date of notice thereof, any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding.”
The DEC was legally obligated to provide for a public hearing within thirty days of December 12, 2012, the publication date of the Notice. Instead, the DEC chose to disregard the law, stating in the HVHF Rule Making Notice that “NO HEARING(S) SCHEDULED.”
The DEC does not have the option of deciding which provisions of law to follow, and which to
disregard.  By failing to hold a hearing, it failed to comply with state law. The DEC even failed to send a representative to the Assembly committee hearing on the proposed regulations.
2. The DEC failed to cite any studies, science or studies as the basis of its proposed regulations as required by law.  The only explanation is that there is no rational basis for the proposed regulations – the DEC simply made them up with the gas lobby
Issuance of the HVHF Rule Making Notice and its associated Revised Regulatory Impact Statement
– High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing – 6 NYCRR Parts 52, 190, 550-556, 560 and 750 (the “Revised
Regulatory Impact Statement” or the “RRIS”) are invalid by virtue of failing to comply with SAPA §
202-a(3)(b) requirements for a valid regulatory impact statement.
In clear derogation of SAPA legal requirements, the discussion of “needs and benefits” contained in
the RRIS does not contain so much as a single “citation for and summary […] of each scientific or
statistical study, report or analysis that served as the basis for the rule, [or] an explanation of how
it was used to determined the necessity for and benefits derived from the rule … [or] the name of
the person that produced each study, report or analysis.”
As a matter of law it is arbitrary and capricious for the DEC to engage in rule making procedure without regard to the facts or a sound basis in reason.
3. The DEC failed to respond to requests for any science, studies or basis for the proposed regulations. Probably because the proposed regulations are not based on science. 
SAPA § 104(a) requires that “An agency, upon request, shall, within thirty days, make available for
inspection and copying any scientific or statistical study, report or analysis, including any such
study, report or analysis prepared by a person or entity pursuant to a contract with the agency or
funded in whole or in part through a grant from the agency that is used as the basis of a proposed
rule and any supporting data;[…].”
Upon information and belief, the DEC has refused timely to comply with SAPA § 104(a) by denying to fulfill FOIL requests for reports or analysis (including requests for reports relating to the health impact assessment) and refusal to make public the data, reports or information upon which the HVHF Proposed Rules are based.
4. The DEC failed to include local government agencies in the rule-making process in any way, at any time – as required by law.
SAPA § 202-b provides that “when any rule is proposed for which a regulatory flexibility analysis
is required, the agency shall assure that small businesses and local governments have been given an opportunity to participate in the rule making….”
Local government officials, including the New York Association of Towns, testified at the Assembly hearing that they had been excluded from the rule-making process by the DEC.
The DEC scheduled its thirty day comment period between December 12, 2012 and January 11,
2013, a time when local governments are consumed with year-end budgetary matters and
organizational meetings. Most local governments will not have had time to consider and act in
their official municipal capacity, given the winter holiday season and the need to concentrate on
legally mandated year-end budgetary matters and organizational meetings.
In derogation of the spirit of the requirements of SAPA § 202-b(6), the DEC has scheduled the
comment period at a time that was virtually guaranteed to deprive local governments of a
meaningful opportunity to schedule board and other public meetings to prepare comments and
participate in this revised rule making process.
4. The DEC failed to show a complete economic impact statement – including negative impacts of the proposed regulations, in violation of the law. The paper that was hastily attached to the draft SGEIS is not a lawful economic impact statement.
SAPA § 201-a(2)(a) mandates that the DEC include in the Revised Job Impact Statement a
summary of the information and methodology underlying its determination of a positive impact
on jobs and employment opportunities resulting from the proposed rules. The DEC has elected to
bypass this requirement, instead substituting industry estimates utilized in a draft environmental
impact statement.
The Revised Job Impact Statement states: “Section 6.8 of the 2011 rdSGEIS provides a detailed
discussion of the potential economic, population and income impacts that may accrue if the use of
HVHF is approved. Based on industry estimates of potential drilling activity, and after applying
certain assumptions about the amount of activity that could proceed under the 2011 rdSGEIS, the
Department estimates that approval of HVHF could bring as many as 6,198 jobs assuming a low
rate of development.” (emphasis added.)
The “2011 rdSGEIS” is only a draft document, is presumably in the process of being revised to
reflect public comment, and has not been adopted or approved by the DEC. The DEC is acting in
violation of SAPA § 201-1(2)(a), by substituting for purposes of the Revised Job Impact Statement
industry-supplied jobs information parroted from a draft environmental impact statement .
5. The proposed regulations fail to cite any alternatives that might reduce negative impacts. Indeed, few land uses and no surface rights are protected by the regulations. 
In contravention of SAPA § 202-a(1), the RRIS contains no evidence that the DEC considered the
utilization of “approaches which are designed to avoid undue deleterious economic effects or
overly burdensome impacts of the rule upon persons, including persons residing in New York
state’s rural areas directly or indirectly affected by [the rules]…”
The public has submitted numerous studies, surveys, reports, and information making the case
that there are material deleterious economic effects and/or overly burdensome impacts on
persons in rural areas that are directly or indirectly affected by the rules to the extent that the
rules contemplate high volume hydraulic fracturing (“HVHF”) wells be located in New York state’s
rural areas.
6. The DEC fails to provide a best estimate of the cost impacts on government. Indeed absent a  state gas production tax, the regulations are an unfunded mandate on local government, leaving state agencies, particularly the DOT and local road authorities to fend for themselves..
In derogation of the requirements of SAPA: the RRIS does not contain “a statement detailing the
projected costs of the rule” which shall indicate the “costs for the implementation of, and
continued administration of the rule to the agency and to the state and its local governments”; nor
does the RRIS contain a statement of the best estimate of such costs [permissible under SAPA §
202-a (c)(iv) where an agency finds that it “cannot fully provide a statement of such costs, a
statement setting forth [the agency’s] best estimate], which shall indicate the information and
methodology upon which such best estimate is based and the reasons why a complete cost
statement cannot be provided.”
7. The DEC grossly mistates the impact on local government and has pointedly ignored local government officials. There are no specific protections in the proposed regulations for any small business, since there are no protections for any land use from the hazards of shale gas industrialization.
SAPA § 202-b(1) requires the DEC to “consider utilizing approaches that will accomplish the
objectives of applicable statutes while minimizing any adverse economic impact of the rule on
small business and local governments. Consistent with the objectives of applicable statutes, the
agency shall consider such approaches as: (a) the establishment of … timetables that take into
account the resources available to small businesses and local governments….”
Once again, the DEC has acted in disregard of the law. In the HVHF Rule Making Notice, the DEC
asserts that “Local governments are not required to take any affirmative action under the
proposed revised rules.” But the assertion that local governments are not required to take
affirmative action is not responsive to the issue of whether an alternative approach could
minimize adverse economic impacts of the rule on local governments.
8. The DEC grossly understates the regional impact on rural areas, by simply ignoring them.
In clear violation of SAPA § 202-bb, the DEC has failed to “consider utilizing approaches that will
accomplish the objectives of applicable statutes while minimizing any adverse economic impact of
the rule on public and private sector interests in rural areas. Consistent with the objectives of
applicable statutes, the agency shall consider such approaches as: (a) the establishment of
timetables that take into account the resources available to rural areas ….”
In the HVHF Rule Making Notice, the DEC asserts that: “These proposed revised requirements
are applicable to HVHF activities statewide, and would not result in any disproportionate
impact on the regulated community in rural areas.” (emphasis added.)
This assertion is arbitrary and capricious, and is erroneous as a matter of law and of fact.
By asserting that because the rules have statewide impact and so (according to the DEC) there is in
effect no local impact, the DEC violates SAPA § 202-bb by refusing to take into account the myriad
disproportionate impacts on the public and private sector interests.
Without question, public and private sector interests in rural areas will be disproportionately
impacted – HVHF well drilling is expected to be highly concentrated in rural upstate New York,
and not on Long Island, New York City, Westchester County, Albany, or the vast majority of large
cities. Drilling is expected to be concentrated in rural areas, and not in densely populated areas
where there may not be sufficient open space to locate sizable well pads.
9. The DEC fails to state what forms will be used and what procedures are to be followed 
The DEC’s response is that “The form would be a new form for the Department; it is not yet
publicly available. Instructions included on the form will provide the necessary guidance to the
regulated community….” As contemplated by the law, the public has an interest in knowing what
forms and paperwork will be required by the proposed regulations BEFORE the regulations are
adopted. If the DEC has not yet determined the proper form and content of a required form, sound
standards (as required by SAPA) mandate that the rule making process be withdrawn and
commenced only when the DEC is prepared to comply with the statutory requirements of
10. Proposed regulations fail to list direct impact on local services, by acting as if there aren’t any by willfully ignoring input from local officials.  
SAPA § 202-a(3)(e) requires the RRIS to contain “a statement describing any program, service,
duty or responsibility imposed by the rule upon any county, city, town, village, school district, fire district or other special district.”
The RRIS states that the proposal “will not directly impose any significant service, duty or
responsibility” on local governments. (emphasis added.)
There is no legal authority under SAPA allowing the DEC to limit its regulatory impact statement
to services, duties, or responsibilities that the DEC determines (without explanation or backup)
that are not “direct.” The HVHF Rule Making Notice is in violation of SAPA §202-a(3)(e) because
the RRIS fails to state that the proposed rules do not impose any service, duty or responsibility on
local government.
11. DEC fails to state any alternatives
Furthermore, there are other alternatives than no regulations, no permits, or the proposed
regulations. The RRIS does not contain, for example, alternatives to the 500 foot setback from a
residential well or 500 feet from an inhabited dwelling. Alternatives could include greater or
lesser distances, when these distances are an increase from the setbacks in the original rule but
are less than setbacks requested in the comments to the regulations.
The RRIS further fails to comply with SAPA §202-a(3)(g) because the RRIS contains no
explanation, statement, scientific basis or any discussion whatsoever of how the DEC selected the
setbacks and other specific requirements contained in the proposed regulations, or cite any alternatives.
12. Fails to state specific reasons for changes, such as eliminating the 2 foot freeboard requirement on open pits, or arbitrarily changing its charter from “regulate oil and gas” to “promote oil and gas”
Issuance of the HVHF Rule Making Notice is invalid by virtue of the fact that the Assessment of
Public Comment consistently omits “a statement of the reasons why any significant changes were not incorporated into the rule,” in violation of SAPA § 202(4-a)(b).
By way of example, Comment 7806 to Part 553.2 suggests increased setbacks from streams,
bodies of water, and private water wells to 3,000 feet. The DEC Response states: “Part 560
proposed additional setbacks for wells completed by high-volume hydraulic fracturing.” The
Response contains absolutely no explanation for why the DEC rejected the comment.
13. The DEC’s changes are neither clear, coherent nor explained 
SAPA § 201requires that the DEC “strive to ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, its rules,
regulations and related document are written in a clear and coherent manner…”
The RRIS section entitled “Revised rule compared with proposed rule” states (in its entirety):
“Substantial revisions were made in sections 550.3, 553.1, 554.1, 554.7, 556.2(g), 560.2,
560.3, 560(3)(b), (d)(1), 560.4(a)(2), (c), 560.5(b), (d), (f), (h), 560.6(c)(3), (11),
560.7(j), 750-3, 750-3.3(a)(5), (6), 750-3.7(o) and 750-3.11(d).”
The RRIS violates SAPA § 201 because the RRIS does not explain what the proposed rules
originally said, what changes were made, or why the changes are proposed; as a result, the
HVHF Rule Making Notice fails to comply with the SAPA requirement that agency statements be
“clear and coherent.”
This is what comes of trying to turn the Empire State into a fracking banana republic. This is the price of political expediency and bureaucratic intransigence.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cuomo's State of the State: WE WERE THERE!

EcoWatch: Uniting the voice of the grassroots environmental movement
  • Wendy Abrams
  • Megan Quinn Bachman
  • Ed Begley, Jr.
  • Jeff Biggers
  • Justin Bloom
  • Lester Brown
  • Michael Brune
  • Alexandra Cousteau
  • Anna Cummins
  • Laurie David
  • Marcus Eriksen
  • Josh Fox
  • Paul Gallay
  • Pilar Gerasimo
  • Ted Glick
  • Pete Harrison
  • Paul Hawken
  • Randy Hayes
  • Richard Heinberg
  • Erik Hoffner
  • Kick Kennedy
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Greg King
  • Annie Leonard
  • Dr. Michael E. Mann
  • Brad Masi
  • Bill McKibben
  • Pete Nichols
  • Greg Palast
  • Phil Radford
  • Robert Reford
  • Geoffrey Sea
  • Laura Turner Seydel
  • Dr. Vandana Shiva
  • Stefanie Penn Spear
  • Dr. David Suzuki
  • Monica Tan
  • Jay Warmke
  • Harvey Wasserman
  • Tom Weis
  • Gary Wockner
  • Mark Yaggi


Pete Seeger joined more than 1,500 New Yorkers from every corner of the state today to rally against fracking outside of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.
More than 1,500 New Yorkers from every corner of the state descended on Albany today to rally against fracking outside of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address. The group delivered a clear message calling for the governor to reject fracking, implement a statewide ban, and be a leader in clean, renewable energy for New York and the nation.

“New Yorkers simply want Governor Cuomo to listen to the people he represents and would be most impacted by fracking, not the gas industry,” said Natalie Merchant of New Yorkers Against Fracking. “We love our state and don’t want to see it permanently damaged by fracking just so the gas companies can make profits and leave us with the economic, health and environmental costs of their mess.”
Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, which is expected to include the announcement of initiatives to address climate change and protect the environment, comes just days after a coalition of national environmental and progressive groups sent him a letter urging his leadership on climate change. The letter’s release came on the heels of new data from researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing methane leaks from natural gas production at an alarming rate that was twice as high as its previous study and industry estimates. The evidence further undermined arguments about natural gas’ environmental benefit and the data did not even include other methane leaks that occur during storage and transfer in pipelines.
Hurricane Sandy devastated New York, inflicting billions in damages,” said Phil Aroneanu, campaign director of “Opening New York to hydrofracking would be opening the floodgates for more Sandys now and in the future—that’s not a legacy we should be leaving our kids and grandkids.”
Protesters highlighted the environmental and health dangers that allowing fracking would pose to the state, as well as the economic dangers. Since fracking began in states outside of New York, there have been numerous reports of water contamination with studies linking fracking-related activities to contaminated groundwater, air pollution, illness, death and reproductive problems in cows, horses and wildlife, and human health problems. Rather than undertake a comprehensive health impact assessment of fracking, the Cuomo administration instead has hired outside experts to review its own internal health evaluation but released fracking regulations before the health review’s completion. The administration has also refused to release any substantial information on the review and placed gag-orders on the outside health experts.
“Fracking will jeopardize the health of millions of New Yorkers,” said Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Profesionals of NY. “The Cuomo administration’s refusal to conduct a comprehensive health impact assessment is unacceptable. The secretive health review it instead decided upon is also unacceptable. And non-disclosure agreements for those paid with taxpayer money to review DEC’s work? That’s just shameful. The health of New Yorkers is far too important to be decided by a secret review of a secret review.”
The exaggerated economic benefits touted by the gas industry and the faulty economic analysis of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have been criticized by New Yorkers and economists.
“New Yorkers continue to express to Governor Cuomo and our state government that we don’t want our air, health or water poisoned by fracking,” said actress and longtime Sullivan County resident Debra Winger. “Regulations cannot minimize the risks and we want our governor to move New York forward by leading us into an era of clean energy and away from dirty fossil fuels and the fantasies the gas industry is peddling.”
The gas industry has poured millions of dollars into New York to influence state government through campaign contributions to elected officials and lobbying. In July, a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Working Group revealed gas industry lobbyists were given preferential access to draft regulations by DEC, allowing them to lobby for changes before the regulations were released to the public. A few weeks ago, Common Cause released an analysis of campaign contributions from the 2012 election cycle showing pro-fracking interests contributed nearly $400,000 to candidates for state legislature and county executive in New York’s Southern Tier. In some races, contributions from pro-fracking interests were more than 20 percent of a candidate’s total fundraising.
Governor Cuomo is weighing whether or not to allow fracking in New York State. With or without regulations in place, fracking is a menace to public health and will produce hazardous air pollution and endanger the state’s food and water.
“Governor Cuomo, don’t do this,” said Logan Adsit, a resident of Pharsalia in Chenango County, which is located in the Southern Tier that the Cuomo administration has indicated as a target of fracking. “Don’t poison my family. Don’t poison anyone’s family. This state, which my family has called home for generations, should not become your toxic legacy. That’s what I’ve come here to say today.”
The group of New Yorkers rallying was also joined by folk artist Pete Seeger, who warned Governor Cuomo in a video message that he risks his family’s legacy if he moves forward with fracking.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.