The following is from an email from Walter Hang regarding the latest situation on Hydro Fracking in the Southern Tier of New York State. Dated: Wed 1/5/2011 10:02 PM
I trust you had a very happy holidays. I am pleased to write you today about taking our Marcellus Shale gas campaign to the next level of success.
During the last 17 months, we collectively thwarted New York State's efforts to adopt a fatally flawed draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement that would have allowed Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracking to proceed. That achievement is simply breathtaking. I still cannot believe we prevailed against some of the biggest corporations on the planet.
I recently learned that some prominent groups decided my strategy of withdrawing the draft SGEIS and sending it back to the drawing board "had a snowball's chance in hell" of succeeding. Nevertheless, we achieved what we set out to do when Governor Paterson issued Executive Order No. 41: Requiring Further Environmental Review of High-Volume Hydraulic Hydrofracturing Combined with Horizontal Drilling. Thank you, again, for all your help.
I am exceedingly pleased to let you know that Governor Cuomo issued a "continuation" of Executive Order No. 41 on his first day in office, as he earlier signaled he would. See: http://www.governor.ny.gov/executiveorder/2
Now we face the challenge of making sure the Executive Order's requirements are fulfilled. I am pleased to present for your review a coalition letter that can help us achieve that goal.
The Executive Order specifies: "The Department shall complete its review of the public comments, make such revisions to the Draft SGEIS that are necessary to analyze comprehensively (emphasis added) the environmental impacts associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling, ensure that such impacts are appropriately avoided or mitigated consistent with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), other provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and other laws, and ensures (stet) that adequate regulatory measures are identified to protect public health and the environment;"
If Executive Order No. 41 is rigorously implemented, all the critical issues DEC exempted from the SGEIS proceeding would be addressed. The coalition letter is very detailed and essentially requires DEC to:
A. Convene a Citizens Advisory Committee as well as a Technical Advisory Committee to guide DEC in its efforts to revise the draft SGEIS;
B. Provide public notice and accept comments for no less than 30 days regarding how DEC can fulfill Executive Order No. 41; and
C. Adopt four critical policies requiring:
1) Enforcement of highly stringent "GA" Effluent limitations to all natural gas wastewaters discharged to groundwaters and surface waters, injected into underground deep wells, contributed to public and private treatment plants or reused for hydraulic fracturing;
2) Individual Environmental Impact Statement reviews for Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing permit applications instead of a Generic EIS review;
3) Investigation of the adequacy of 1992 GEIS with regard to DEC's failure to prevent or clean up documented fires, explosions, polluted water supply wells, uncontrolled wastewater releases and home evacuations associated with natural gas activities in New York State; and
4) A comprehensive update of the 1992 GEIS to address the wide range of concerns specified by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency in its 12/30/09 letter to DEC.
You can review and sign the coalition letter at: http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/cuomo/coalition_letter
It is imperative to persuade Governor Cuomo to implement the actions specified in the coalition letter. That would require DEC to undertake an unprecedented effort to safeguard New York's environment and public health from Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing hazards.
If that goal can be accomplished, it would also provide a model of effective regulatory action for all the states in the Marcellus Shale formation.
I urge you to sign the coalition letter ASAP and to persuade as many friends, family members, elected officials, colleagues, business owners, farmers, students, religious leaders and others to sign as well.
I will let you know if phone banking is needed to drive the point home. We will hold off for now.
Thank you for your assistance. Onward and upward.
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