In last week's gubernatorial debate Rob Astorino, the Republican nominee and Westchester County Executive, said that if elected he would move forward with gas drilling within the first 90 days of his administration.
Governor Cuomo countered, "I'm not a scientist. Let the scientists decide…. whatever the experts say is right, that's what I will do…"And the science is increasingly clear. The process of extracting, processing and transporting natural gas puts dangerous toxins into our water and air, and emits global warming-inducing green house gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.
Numerous recent peer-reviewed studies and other independent research confirm what early reports and high quality investigative journalism has long suggested – fracking is inherently risky and harmful to our health, environment, and climate.... And the evidence is mounting further. Today we are publicly presenting for the first time a report analyzing the presence of toxic chemicals in air around oil and gas development and distribution sites in six states, including right here in New York. The results reveal that an array of airborne hazardous chemicals is present at levels higher than federal health and safety standards. In some cases the concentrations are high enough to pose an immediate health threat to anyone exposed.
To conduct the study, residents of communities affected by oil and gas production or transportation in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and New York were trained to collect air samples employing the same equipment and methods used by federal agencies. When residents personally observed activity at the sites or suffered symptoms such as headaches, dizziness or breathing problems, they took samples. An accredited independent laboratory then analyzed the results.
Catskill Mountainkeeper and partners supervised the collection of air samples near the newly operational natural gas compressor station in Hancock, NY. Samples were taken both before and after the compressor station went online, as well as during a “blowdown” incident in March of this year. A compressor station blowdown is a semi-regular occurrence in which the station is taken offline — either for maintenance or following an accident or other incident — and the gas in the compressors and adjacent piping is vented into the atmosphere. At the Hancock compressor station, this entails releasing gas from nine miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline. A comparison of the levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the samples collected the day before and during the March blowdown documents that the event caused significantly elevated levels of VOCs to be released into the air, including benzene (a carcinogen) and liquid petroleum gases (propane, isobutene, n-butane, isopentane, and n-pentane).
Catskill Mountainkeeper is sending the study and our findings here in New York to Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Health, to ensure that our state leaders are up to date with the latest scientific information.
Please join us by sending an email to Governor Cuomo supporting his pledge to let science decide the future of fracking in New York and providing him a link to this latest study.
Click here to view the original article in Environmental Health, a peer-reviewed journal, which was the basis for the report.
**And if you haven't yet looked over the recently released Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, which was prepared by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and includes much of the latest science on fracking, we encourage you to do so. It is an excellent resource.