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Wow/Powerful EPA Comments/Keep slugging


I write to thank everyone who has worked so hard these last two and a half grueling years to maintain New York's de facto moratorium on Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing. Your diligence and sacrifice are greatly appreciated. What you have collectively achieved is almost beyond belief. I am sure the gas industry is chagrined to feels likewise.

Even against that background of impressive political achievement, the last ten days have been noteworthy in the annals of NYS grassroots action. Wow.

We started the year off with a bang by generating massive press coverage for our State-of-the-State Rally. That event is still generating political buzz. Governor Cuomo learned in no uncertain terms that we would be pushing him very hard right from the get-go to withdraw the Revised Draft SGEIS.

The very next day, four colleagues who have known each other for more than 30 years met for a full and frank discussion. That meeting set in motion heavy-lifting events that could really help protect New Yorkers from gas extraction hazards. Thanks very much for your friendship and help when the chips are down. Time flies, eh?

Just before the deadline for public comment on the Revised Draft SGEIS, I submitted the coalition letter which requests that Governor Cuomo withdraw that fatally flawed document. Our letter had just under 22,000 signatories and monumentally dwarfed every other large signatory effort. That is mind-boggling given the millions of bucks given to huge public and private-sector entities. For good measure, I also submitted every significant gas drilling document and data set I compiled since 11/09.

I then made concerted efforts to assure that EPA Region 2's comments regarding the Revised Draft SGEIS would receive maximum beneficial press coverage. When EPA submitted 14 pages of comments on 12/30/09, it dramatically revealed the shortcomings of the draft SGEIS proposal. I hoped that EPA would take equally effective action once again.

It turned out to be a very long couple of days of waiting, but we are finally good. Three hours before the midnight deadline Wednesday evening, EPA submitted a total of 26 pages of extremely detailed technical comments. The agency's written concerns strongly buttress our argument that the Revised Draft SGEIS is fatally flawed and must be withdrawn yet again.

Following up on EPA's release required considerable effort because the agency included a specious cover letter likely required by the nation's highest authority. Fortunately, a quick analysis of the comments eventually resulted in good coverage:

See my letter to Governor Cuomo with regard to EPA's comments:


Contact info below.

Note that EPA's comments echo the key concerns expressed in our coalition letter.

EPA provided 26 pages of detailed comments that criticize virtually every aspect of the Revised Draft SGEIS.

EPA repeated over and over that DEC failed to resolve many of the critical concerns spelled out in EPA's 2009 comments.

EPA is extremely concerned about DEC's failure to address:

  • gas drilling wastewater disposal problems,
  • inadequate radiation safeguards,
  • gas drilling air pollution,
  • drinking water threats and
  • water quality contamination
  • Please keep beating the bushes for more signatories, notably local officials, farmers and businesses. Signatories from other states and nations are warmly accepted. We need at least 100 signatories in each category.

    Another big week looming. Much more to come shortly.