Last week Governor Cuomo announced on WGDJ radio in Albany that “we don’t have a hard date, but it will be done shortly”, signaling that the state will adopt a policy on fracking soon. This statement comes days after the Governor’s office leaked a plan to the New York Times (in which Mountainkeeper was quoted) that would allow hydrofracking permits in Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Chemung and Steuben counties near the Pennsylvania border and would give local communities a say in whether or not gas wells would be drilled (Listen to Ramsay Adams interviewed on WBAI NYC Public Radio).
Our response to the Governor’s plan was swift and strong. Mountainkeeper immediately convened a meeting of the top environmental groups in the state and together we organized a press conference and rally in Albany on June 20th. We told the Governor that it is unacceptable to sacrifice any area of New York State to fracking.
Whether the Governor plans to drill 5 counties or 62, the danger of fracking is still the same. In states that are being fracked, water and air are being polluted and most importantly people are getting sick. And yet, no comprehensive scientific study has been done by the State to determine the impacts of fracking on health. We have been calling on the state to do a Health Impact Assessment (HIA), (a broad-spectrum scientific review of both the qualitative and quantitative information related to the impacts on health of fracking), for years. The State Assembly passed a bill to have it done last week, but the campanion bill was blocked in the State Senate, leaving it up to the Governor to order one.
As we see the issue, the question isn’t why do a HIA, the question is why would we not do a HIA when there is overwhelming evidence that fracking is dangerous to health. The dangers are explored in Josh Fox’s new 18-minute video titled, “The Sky is Pink” which also highlights the parallels between the gas industry’s denials of potential health impacts and the disinformation campaign that was waged by the cigarette industry 50 years ago. The mantra “gas wells don’t leak” is synonymous with “cigarettes don’t kill”.
The truth is that the DEC has failed to evaluate the myriad of issues that accompany gas drilling and there is no way in good conscience that the state should be finalizing a plan at this time. In addition to the failure to do a HIA, the DEC has also failed to:
- Address the issue of upward migration of methane and the toxic byproducts of fracking through natural faults in the earth (see Hydrogeologist Tom Myer’s peer reviewed study on this topic)
- Prepare a plan for the disposal of millions of gallons of toxic wastewater (see NRDC’s report on wastewater and Environmental Advocates analysis)
- Update studies of greenhouse gas emissions
- Address the radioactive pollution from drilling
- Review the siting plans of risks of potentially explosive natural gas pipelines
- And more….for a review of the other dangers of fracking please go to our website.
It is not too late. Please help us keep up the pressure on the Govenor by calling and telling him that allowing drilling anywhere in New York State is unacceptable. His office can be reached at (518) 474-8390.
We also urge you to join with Mountainkeeper at the Stop The Frack Attack Rally in Washington DC on July 28th. This National Day of Action is aimed at challenging the oil and gas industry’s control over our national policies. Now is the time for us all to unite and demand no more drilling that harms public health, water, and air. It is time to put communities and the environment first and to demand an end to special subsidies for the industry. Visit the StopTheFrackAttack.org website for more information.
We Need Your Financial Support. Please donate to Catskill Mountainkeeper so that we can continue to fight on your behalf.
Copyright 2012 Catskill Mountainkeeper, P.O. Box 381, Youngsville, New York, 12791. Catskill Mountainkeeper is a non-profit 501(c)(3) grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique and irreplaceable Catskill Region of New York State.