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Citing New Information, Group Asks Cuomo to Withdraw DEC Fracking Proposal

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.


  • IT GETS WORSE

    DO NOT MISS THE FACT THAT THIS MESS IS THE BY-PRODUCT OF A VERTICAL FRACTURED WELL. Concise life-threatening aquifer damage has occurred per the ‘lesser’, ‘friendlier’ vertical-fracture drilling process. If HORIZONTAL HYDRO FRACTURE commences in New York State (MORE DISTANCE, PRESSURE AND TOXIC CHEMICALS) we will suffer full industrialization of our landscape and comprehensive contamination of our drinking water. No steel casing nor cement has been engineered to exterior bond to the shale it is penetrating. It does not matter whether you set 5-casings or 15-casings. The contamination failures are occurring between the shale and the EXTERIOR of the last casing layer provided. Set aside the water issues for a moment and understand that the AIR QUALITY IMPACTS of this process are potentially WORSE than the water.

    For the record, folks have been talking about imperfect shale formations, particularly in the geology surrounding Lake Otsego (Cooperstown) since 2008. Montreal Geologist Marc Durand speaks to the concern in this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW2qGewjb7k&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

    If our friends in Washington DC are wondering why this matters…. Lake Otsego is identified as the “Headwaters of the Chesapeake” in the first 15-minutes of FRONTLINE’s “Poisoned Waters” documentary from 2009:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters/

  • Jay360

    Refresh my memory-wasnt there a local company that did research for the DEIS?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/nyregion/skepticism-directed-at-study-of-impact-of-hydraulic-fracturing.html?_r=2