Streams

State Releases Draft Regulations on Controversial Fracking

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

State environmental regulators formally issued draft regulations on Wednesday for the controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region of southern New York.

The document, originally posted online in July, sketched out rules for permitting gas-drilling companies to pump water, chemicals and sand into deep wells at high pressure to release natural gas from shale.

The state has not permitted fracking in the Marcellus Shale since it began drafting new permitting rules three years ago.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has already a draft environmental analysis and will accept public comments on both documents until December 12.

Eric Goldstein, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the proposed rules have the same problems environmentalists identified in an earlier draft that was posed online in July.

“Lack of full protection for water supplies, inadequate safeguards on the issue of hazardous wastes," Goldstein said. "And no effective mechanism for preventing widespread industrialization of the landscapes."

He accused the DEC of depriving the public the chance for meaningful review by proposing a complex regulatory scheme on a short timetable.

The department did not make anyone available for comment.

DEC hearings are scheduled November 16 in Dansville, N.Y., November 17 in Binghamton, N.Y., November 29 in Sheldrake, N.Y. and November 30 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan.

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Comments [2]

Otegogas from Otsego County

Fracking has never been proven safe enough to do in populated or agricultural areas. Gas industry claims of "safe & responsible" gas drilling are myth, and NOT supported by the "gound truth".

Communities fracked 10 or 20+ years ago have NEVER been re-visited to see if the toxic waste left deep in the ground has migrated up to the water table over time, nor has any study ever been undertaken to look at potential long-term health impacts for those living in America's gaslands.

Until the long-term impacts of fracking have been evaluated, there should be NO shale gas extraction in NY State.

Sep. 28 2011 02:18 PM
KeepItSimple from WNY

COMMENTS ON NYS REGULATIONS

Write to DEC and Governor Cuomo and tell them:
1. Bar in all watersheds, not just some. What makes Syracuse water more important than Buffalo’s?
2. Bar in pristine forest areas. As we learned in middle school biology, poisoning the forest kills us. Little springs go into big streams, and eventually fill watersheds. Fish and game move around. Do not hide Carcinogen Time Capsules in the forest, hidden from public scrutiny.
3. Pass State rules to compensate for the hydraulic fracturing exemptions from the federal Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, OSHA, and a host of other environmental rules. If the process is safe, the industry has nothing to fear from the rules. If it is dangerous, we need protection.
4. Mandate cancer prevention research showing the link between fracking carcinogens and cancer. Interdisciplinary, e.g. Roswell Park Cancer Institute and SUNY@Buffalo groundwater hydrology.
5. When drilling is barred (e.g. State lands, watersheds), bar should extend to lands adjacent to underground aquifer as a safety buffer zone. Water’s ability to migrate is incredible.
6. Do not preempt local rules in areas such as drilling, transport, water purchase, water disposal, etc. For example, local power to regulate industrial activity and truck traffic must be allowed.
7. Neighbor notification and permission. If Buffalo can require chicken owners to get neighbors permission, something as dramatic as a hydrofracking platform should offer the same protection: it can destroy a neighbor’s quality of life, ability to get a mortgage and land value.
8. Legal presumption of harm until science catches up. No “proprietary information” shield to keep chemicals secret.
9. Must use local job service. Usually rigs are out of town (or Canadian) folks who contribute little to local economy.
10. No drilling in areas undergoing environmental recovery. Start by banning activity passing through underground aquifers listed in the 27 page NY handout “Chemicals in Sport Fish and Game Health Advisories.” (It listed contamination warnings for *135* areas due to mercury, PCBs, Dioxin, Chlordane, etc.) Not only will this allow these areas to recover, but it allows authorities to clearly trace responsibility when there are accidents.
11. Strict restrictions on gas company “kitchen table leases”, with long cool off periods. Consider all leases prohibited “adhesion contracts,” absent special safeguards.
12. Extend moratorium 5 years until science and these rules catch up.
How to do it:

ATTN: dSGEIS Comments
NYS DEC
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-6510
Submit electronic comment: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html

Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Governor
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
Email the Governor: http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

Sep. 28 2011 01:10 PM

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