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Campaign Launched to Require Formal Public Participation and Major Revisions for DOH Fracking Review


From Walter Hang:

Binghamton Mayor Matthew Ryan and representatives of a statewide coalition of environmental, civic and good-government groups as well as scientists, physicians, farmers, artists and local business owners will announce the launching of a campaign calling for formal public participation and major revisions to the New York State Department of Health's Review of the Public Health Impact of High Volume, Hydraulic Fracturing.

Fracking opponents want a say in the state's review of health impacts

BINGHAMTON — Opponents of hydrofracking in New York are asking for a say in the state’s review of its public health impacts.

Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan and other opponents of natural gas drilling on Tuesday called for formal public participation and other revisions to the New York State Department of Health’s review of hydrofracking.

“The problem with that entire proceeding is it is being undertaken completely in secret,” said Walter Hang, president of Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting. “There has never been a piece of paper released to the public about the scope of the health review, about how it’s being undertaken, about what its critical issues are.”

More than 1,000 drilling opponents, including several public officials, have signed on to a letter asking for formal written notice of what the Department of Health’s review involves, a minimum of 30 days of written review and comment on the review and at least one public hearing where interested parties can testify about how the review should be conducted.

“If it’s ever going to be done in our state, we need to make sure that there’s integrity in the process,” Ryan said Tuesday.

Fracking Health Campaign

*** VIEW VIDEO ***

Activists who want to keep the state's moratorium on fracking are pressuring the governor to open the state's health review of the drilling practice open to the public.

They also came armed with maps showing current toxic sites and locations of uncapped wells in New York State to argue the d-e-c hasn't been able to properly regulate conventional drilling. State DEC commissioner Joe Martens said his department won't set forth fracking regulations before the health review is finished.

"It is being undertaken completely in secret. There has never been a single piece of paper released to the public about the scope of the Department of Health review, about how it is being undertaken," said Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting.

"New York state had a great record and that's why we didn't have to recreate the wheel? Well it's clear we have to recreate the wheel especially for an industry that is far more intrusive than vertical drilling," said Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.

Cuomo on fracking: Decision too important to rush

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday pushed back against the suggestion his administration is playing politics in further delaying a decision on hydraulic fracturing, saying the issue is “too important to make a mistake.”

Cuomo’s administration this week said it would not meet a Feb. 27 deadline to finalize a set of long-awaited regulations for high-volume fracking, the method used to extract natural gas from shale formations. In a letter Tuesday, Health Commissioner Nirav Shah said he needs a “few weeks” to complete a review of fracking’s impacts on human health — a study he launched in September.

Speaking in Queens on Wednesday, Cuomo told reporters he wouldn’t rush Shah to meet an “arbitrary” deadline.

“I don’t think that’s prudent and I don’t think that’s right and I won’t do it,” said Cuomo, who reiterated his call for a decision based on “facts and information” and not “emotion”.

The delay sparked a renewed round of criticism from gas-drilling supporters, who have expressed continued frustration with the state’s indecisiveness on whether to open the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation to drilling.

NY lawmakers want public input on fracking review


ALBANY, N.Y. — A coalition of 65 state lawmakers is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to release the Department of Environmental Conservation's review of potential health impacts of shale gas drilling for public comment before deciding whether to allow drilling to begin.

Lifton calls for further, public fracking review

ALBANY — State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, joined with 65 lawmakers to support putting hydrofracking’s health review on hold, so there can be public review and comment on the process.

Lifton called the Department of Health review "unacceptably inadequate.”

NY LAWMAKERS WANT PUBLIC INPUT ON FRACKING REVIEW

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A coalition of 65 state lawmakers is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to release the Department of Environmental Conservation's review of potential health impacts of shale gas drilling for public comment before deciding whether to allow drilling to begin.

The group headed by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton sent a letter to Cuomo on Tuesday. They said the Health Department's evaluation of the DEC's "health impact analysis" should be transparent, but the public hasn't been given any information about it. It's expected to be complete within a few weeks.

Fracking Foe Calls On Health Experts to Push For Public Input

A prominent opponent of fracking in New York has called on the state health commissioner and a panel of health experts to allow the public to review a “health impact analysis” being prepared before the state acts on shale gas drilling rules.

Walter Hang, president of Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting, says the Department of Health review is critically important because it’s expected to be considered by Governor Andrew Cuomo in determining future fracking policy.

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