Public Comment period re: hydrofracking regulation ends December 31st

From: Alice U.
Sent on: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 5:40 PM
> From: burns <[address removed]>
> From: [address removed]

Dear friends,

Urgent - ?please act by December 31 and forward as widely as possible.

New York DEC's comment period for hydrofracking (horizontal gas
drilling) regulations (dsGEIS) ends December 31st. This document is
intended to supplement the state's 1992 GEIS on gas drilling; but at
809 pages, most of you probably never got around to reading it. If
you've been following this issue at all, you are probably aware that
there have been many reviews and reports raising quite a variety of
concerns suggesting that the regulations are woefully inadequate to
protect our state's water resources, our roads, or the quality of life
in upstate communities.

These concerns have been raised by a wide range of sources - ?from
Cornell University's Law School to NY City's DEP, upstate farmers and
vineyards to NYC residents and council members, and environmental
activists to property owners who have already leased to drilling
companies. It is notable that even bipartisan political bodies
including drilling supporters have unanimously agreed that the draft
is vastly insufficient to it's intended purpose.

There is much hullabaloo about the Marcellus Shale natural gas
resources which exist from NY state to southern VA. Geologists suggest
there may be as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of gas present,
equivalent to a 20 year domestic supply. However, industry experts
note only about 10% (i.e. a 2 year supply) of that will be
extractable. ?Even assuming NY holds about 25% of these resources,
this amount would be less than a 6 month supply for the entire US. Any
detrimental effects to our pristine underground drinking water sources
and aquifers however would be irreversible.

Natural gas is touted as a ?clean burning? fuel which is only true in
relation to other fossil fuels at the point of combustion.
Unfortunately, the actual drilling process ?is far from clean -
involving the use of over a hundred ?toxic chemicals; the potential to
release of radioactive materials (including known carcinogens); plus
the noise, light, and air pollution generated from power equipment and
thousands of diesel truck trips required ?PER WELL ?to transport water
for the drilling process.

It is imperative that all of us as citizens comment on the dsGEIS by
Dec 31st, and if the task seems daunting, hopefully this will help:
Go to: ?http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/46288.html
and note (feel free to cut and paste the following and adapt as needed)
the draft sGEIS is not adequate to protect NY state's public health,
water supplies, environment and wildlife, roads, and quality of life
in upstate communities. They should be withdrawn while a new review of
the original GEIS is completed. Inadequacies are numerous,
significant ,and varied including:
lack of cohesive oversight for drilling process, including wastewater
treatment, water quality monitoring, and disposal of radioactive waste;
lack of comprehensive planning for drilling process including
regulatory staffing, training, and funding;
lack of consideration for cumulative effects on NY's air, water, land,
and public health;
lack of protection for private wells owners, property owners, and
other economic sectors (agriculture, tourism, etc) from risk of
negative impacts from drilling;
lack of protection for New York taxpayers from paying for increased
costs associated with new infrastructure and potential toxic
remediation efforts;
lack of acknowledgement of insufficiencies in original GEIS
(documented in DEC's own spill reports!);
and a complete lack of enforceable mandates outlining proper drilling
protocol!

((FOR MORE SAMPLES OF COMMENTS/CONCERNS, SEE BELOW))

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
1. Call Governor Paterson by December 31st ?and urge him to
immediately withdraw the draft sGEIS and demand a thorough review of
the original GEIS.
[address removed] , phone:[masked] , fax:[masked]

2. Sign the petition calling for the draft regulations to be withdrawn
(deadline is Dec 31st) - urge your friends, neighbors, and especially
ELECTED OFFICIALS (state and local) to sign it too.
http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/coalition_letter

3. Contact your elected officials (state AND local) to share your
concerns and ask them to support Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton's ?The
Natural Gas Exploration and Extraction Liability Act of 2010? to
protect upstate property owners and municipalities from potential
damages due to industry activities.
http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A09414&sh=t

4. Please forward this message to everyone you know who is also
concerned about protecting our water, roads, and communities! Thank you!


EXAMPLES OF CONCERNS AND COMMENTS SUBMITTED:

?I urge the DEC to acknowledge the inadequacies of that original GEIS,
and undertake a stronger, more comprehensive process that ensures what
is most valuable to our state ? our rural way of life, our plentiful
and precious water, our beautiful landscapes and abundant wildlife and
ecosystems ? is left unscathed and capable of sustaining New Yorkers
long after the last well is drilled and the last royalty is paid
out.? ?- Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (125th district)


Additional comment ideas:
Detailed sample comments compiled by environmental attorney Helen
Slottje, Esq.
http://www.shaleshock.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/sgeis-comment-areasdocx.pdf
Comments by Town of Ithaca Board:
http://www.mail-archive.com/[address removed]/msg04622.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/tcrp/frac/TOI_Gas_Drilling_comments_with_attachments.pdf
Comments by Congressman Hinchey:
http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/ny22_hinchey/morenews/122309DECFrackingComments.html
Comments by Fingerlakes Land Trust:
http://www.fllt.org/news/index.php?id=70
Comments by Tompkins County Council of Governments:
http://www.tompkins-co.org/legislature/TCCOG/Resolutions/Resolution%20006-09%20-%20dsGEIS.pdf


?From Toxics Targeting:
The Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) own spill reports
document that existing regulations have failed to prevent or to
require the clean up of hundreds of natural gas and oil drilling
problems involving fires, explosions, polluted drinking water wells,
home evacuations and massive drilling wastewater releases. DEC must
not issue new gas drilling permits until those regulatory concerns
have been fully resolved.That is why the Supplemental GEIS review must
be restarted.

The draft SGEIS totally fails to propose a safe method of managing
natural gas drilling wastewater and hydrofracking fluid. It simply
leaves that task to localities. Improper management of natural gas
drilling wastewater has already caused massive toxic pollution
impacts. The SGEIS must solve this disposal problem before new natural
gas drilling permits are issued.

DEC is woefully understaffed to cope with existing natural gas
drilling problems. Only 17 staff are available to regulate nearly
7,000 existing natural gas wells. New gas drilling permits must not be
issued until the SGEIS solves this problem.

The SGEIS fails to address critical issues associated with strict
clean up liability, natural gas spill reporting, private right of
legal action, insurance coverage and unfunded local government
mandates. All those concerns must be addressed prior to the issuance
of new gas drilling permits.


Examples of concerns over the draft sGEIS:
Cornell University's Law School study finds DEC ??ill-equipped to
oversee horizontal gas drilling?.
http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20091211/NEWS01/912110348/Cornell-team-concludes-DEC-ill-equipped-to-oversee-natural-gas-drilling

Reports of horizontal drilling problems from other states:
http://www.propublica.org/feature/new-yorks-gas-rush-poses-environmental-threat-722
http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-26-propublica-gas-drilling-water/

Review of DEC ?records showing decades of water contamination ?from
conventional gas drilling.
http://www.toxicstargeting.com/news/2009-11-08/natural-gas-quest-state-files-show-270-drilling-accidents-past-30-years

NYC's ?DEP has calls for dsGEIS to be withdrawn:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/09-15pr.shtml
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/science/earth/24drill.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

Bipartisan opposition:
http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20091215/NEWS01/912150359/Tompkins+lawmakers+decry+Marcellus+statement+s+language


Additional resources:
http://www.shaleshock.org/
http://sites.google.com/site/nymarcellusshale/
http://www.propublica.org/series/buried-secrets-gas-drillings-environmental-threat
http://NYWellWatch.org

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http://NYWellWatch.org
News, Opinion, and Information
for Communities Affected by
the Marcellus Shale Gas Play
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