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Excellent week/new developments


From my biased perspective, it has been another excellent week in our Marcellus Shale fight. And it is only Wednesday.

Key Gas Drilling Wastewater Development

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection told firms to stop sending gas drilling wastewater to 15 Publicly Owned Treatment Plants that had been exempted from new regulations adopted after the 2008 Monongahela River incident that polluted the drinking water for 850,000 residents. Thank you, Ian Urbina and The NYT. See:

That major decision intensifies the pressure on the Achilles Heel of gas drilling: what to do with the wastewater. We are similarly pushing DEC and EPA to bar gas drilling wastewater from New York's public treatment plants, notably in Auburn, NY. A local campaign with that goal in mind is already underway.

DEC Commissioner Martens' Extremely Interesting Comment

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens was interviewed on WNYC radio last Friday and made an extremely interesting comment regarding Revising the DRAFT SGEIS. "If we're not satisfied that we can address all those issues, then permitting may not go forward," Martens said. You can hear him make that astounding statement at:

We might be getting somewhere. All the more reason to expand the scope of the SGEIS proceeding. Keep calling and emailing Governor Cuomo.

Lifton's Letter to Cuomo

Last week, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton circulated a letter requesting that Governor Cuomo a) require an immediate 30-day minimum public comment period regarding how DEC should revise the DRAFT SGEIS; and b) expand the scope of the SGEIS to include many environmental and public health issues excluded from the original scope of the proceeding.

HER LETTER HAS ALREADY GAINED NEARLY 50 SIGNATORIES, including Assembly and State Senate Reps and both Republicans and Democrats. That is not chopped liver. Thank you, Assemblywoman Lifton. See:

I strongly urge you to ask your Assembly and State Senate representatives to become signatories. No elected official should oppose public participation in this critical issue. Drive the point home.

If they are favorably inclined, simply ask them to contact Assemblywoman Lifton's office. The text of her letter is posted at:

Wellsville, NY Meeting

On Saturday, I attended a large Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing presentation in the heart of New York's gas drilling region. The comments in a local article demonstrate the deep divide on this issue:


The bottom line is that there will be no horizontal hydrofracturing in New York's Marcellus and other tight shales until a Final SGEIS is adopted. With your continued efforts, that might not be achieved for many years to come. If we falter, you know what will happen.

Governor Cuomo remains our main target. I implore you to stay focused. Thank you for all your help.

Some activists are beginning to lobby all manner of State and Federal bills that have virtually no chance of being enacted into law given that the State Senate and the House of Representatives are controlled by Republicans who strongly support gas drilling. I have already told you what Ben Franklin said.

I remain focused on extending New York's de facto moratorium in order to address all Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing concerns. I urge you to do likewise. That is clearly our strongest and best line of defense.

Onward and upward,


Please try to scare up more signatories to the Governor Cuomo coaltion letter, particularly groups and elected officials. We are getting close to 5,000 signatories. Beat the bushes. See:

Call and email Governor Andrew Cuomo, EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Ask them to support:

  1. Expanding the scope of the draft SGEIS to include additional concerns, notably how to manage gas drilling wastewater;
  2. Establishing Citizens and Technical Advisory Committees to help DEC revise the draft SGEIS;
  3. Providing at least 30 days public comment to identify additional issues to be included in the draft SGEIS scope;
  4. Requiring individual EIS reviews for horizontal hydrofracturing permits, "GA effluent limitations" for hydrofracturing, deep well injection and wastewater treatment as well as updating DEC's 1992 GEIS.

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