Citing New Information, Group Asks Cuomo to Withdraw DEC Fracking Proposal
by Geoff Kelly - posted 10:08 am, November 3, 2011
Toxics Targeting, an environmental advocacy group, has sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking that he withdraw the Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement released by the state DEC for permitting hydrofracking the state’s Marcellus Shale for natural gas. And they’re asking others to sign an online, collective letter to Cuomo making the same demand.
Here’s the organization’s argument:
DEC’s RD SGEIS fails to fulfill the mandate of Executive Order No. 41. First and foremost, it is based on the erroneous assertion that:
“No documented instances of groundwater contamination are recorded in the Department’s files from previous horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing projects in New York. No documented incidents of groundwater contamination in public water supply systems were reported by the NYSDOH central office and Rochester district office… References have been made to some reports of private well contamination in Chautauqua County in the 1980s that may be attributed to oil and gas drilling… The reported Chautauqua County incidents, the majority of which occurred in the 1980s and which pre-date the current casing and cementing practices and fresh water aquifer supplementary permit conditions, could not be substantiated because pre-drilling water quality testing was not conducted, improper tests were run which yielded inconclusive results and/or the incidents of alleged well contamination were not officially confirmed.”
This statement is factually incorrect and deliberately misleading. Hundreds of natural gas and oil drilling, hydrofracturing and related problems have reportedly impacted private water wells, homes and the environment in New York. Those problems are documented by DEC as well as health authorities in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.
As evidence that the statement is incorrect, they offer the Ferrugia family, who live near Jamestown and have not been able to drink water from their well since 2007, after a gas well was drilled about 300 feet from their house:
Their water is so polluted that their veterinarian even warned them not to allow their dogs to drink the water. Chautauqua County Health authorities determined: “This is a well documented case showing drinking water impacts that are seemingly related to gas well development.” Yet, DEC has refused to assist this family.
The Ferrugia’s problem directly refutes the RD SGEIS assertions about gas drilling incidents in Chautauqua County because it: a) occurred relatively recently and is on-going; b) was not prevented by DEC regulatory safeguards or gas well drilling and production improvements; c) is documented by pre-drilling and post-drilling drinking water baseline testing and d) was confirmed by local health officials.
Here’s an interview Toxics Targeting’s Walter Hang conducted with the Ferrugia family:
To read more and to sign the online letter, visit Toxics Targeting.