You are here

More than 300 Powerful, Irrefutable, Personal Communications Sent to Fracking Panel Members/General Update

Enjoying another summer without shale fracking in NYS?  Please take a minute to write members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel about major new DOH Review problems:


Each and every additional day without shale gas fracking in New York is vitally important.  Our state's nearly five-year-long shale fracking moratorium is holding firm because Dr. Shah's secret DOH Review still has not been completed.  As a result, no Final SGEIS can be adopted by the Cuomo Administration.

New York continues to avoid the toxic hazards documented in states where shale and oil fracking activities are rapidly expanding, including, but not limited to
PA, OH, WV, CA, WY, CO, AR, TX, ND, SD, ID, MT, NE, KA, LA, OK, MI, NM, WA, KY and TN. 

There is no way the fracking genie will be put back into the bottle now.  Due to shale fracking, nationwide gas production skyrocketed and caused a market glut which sent prices plummeting.  That is promoting even greater use of natural gas.  Oil fracking is predicted to make the USA the world’s largest producer in less than a decade.  

Shale fracking has been kept out of New York by dint of our highly coordinated research, public policy advocacy, media outreach and grassroots organizing efforts powered by tens of thousands of well-informed, dedicated activists.  That is an unprecedented achievement.  You are owed a huge debt of gratitude.  

Governor Has Not Kicked the Fracking Can Down the Road

Nevertheless, Governor Cuomo repeatedly says that  Dr. Shah's Review will be completed within weeks, so we are not out of the woods.

The Governor obviously remains intent on permitting shale gas extraction or he would have kicked the fracking can down the road long ago.  I implore you to stay focused on blocking Dr. Shah's secret DOH Review
 or New York could suffer the irreparable fracking problems unfolding in other states.  

More Than 300 Powerful, Irrefutable, Personal Messages Sent to Fracking Panel Members

I am immensely pleased to report that more than 300 powerful, irrefutable, personal messages have been sent to members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel to require Governor Cuomo to halt Dr. Shah's "health impact analysis" Review because it: 

a) is being conducted in secret without any public input, b) cannot fulfill its mandates and c) would be informed by three health investigations that are woefully incomplete. 

Our efforts received NPR coverage (Thank you, Karen Dewitt):

Your hearts will sing when you read so many incredibly moving, hard-hitting messages from citizen activistsgovernment officials, farmers, physicians, scientists and civic leaders:

Shale Fracking Advisory Panel Enviros

We must make sure that environmental groups do not give Governor Cuomo "green" political cover for conducting a secret DOH Review without public participation or supporting a shale fracking demonstration project in the Southern Tier or anywhere else.  That is why we have focused intense pressure on the Advisory Panel members for nearly 18 months.

Isn't it shocking and sad that Fracking Advisory Panel members representing some of the largest environmental groups in the nation refuse to cross swords with the Governor to stop a DOH Review conducted in secret without any public input?  

If you are appalled by the unwillingness of national enviros to speak out publicly on this critical issue, please write, call, withhold your financial support and tell everyone you know to crank up the heat.  They must not be allowed to stay mum or look the other way in this crucial battle about open and transparent government.  

Advisory Panel member contact info:

Legislative Session

Even though I never lobby, I have been asked about the fate of bills that various Albany enviro groups exhorted citizens to support.  Activists also forwarded a letter from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver regarding the two-year moratorium passed by his House.  See:  

I will explain what happened so that the grassroots can learn how to cut through all the self-serving enviro spin.

Speaker Silver's letter states that "the Assembly Majority (emphasis added)..." passed the Sweeney bill.  It is crucial to understand that leadership ultimately makes decisions, not rank and file members.  

Even though this bill was an important and useful effort deserving of praise, Assembly leadership knew it was dead on arrival in the State Senate.  

Passing a "dead one-house bill" can advance a policy agenda or curry favor with interested parties even though the bill never becomes law.  This happens all the time.

In order to become law, the same bill must pass both legislative Houses during the same session and be signed by the Governor.  That takes "heavy lifting."  The vast majority of bills die because they involve more political posturing than serious legislative intent.  This is true even when bills are substantively excellent.  

The bottom line is that enacting laws is super hard.  Last session only 571 bills passed both Houses out of more than 16,000 introduced bills.  Some of the bills that passed are likely to be vetoed.  That is approximately a 3.0% success rate for bills becoming law in New York.

Albany Enviros Advocated Four Totally Doomed State Senate Bills

Against that background, Albany enviros advocated four totally doomed State Senate anti-fracking bills down the homestretch of session.  That House is controlled by Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC).  They killed the bills by simply making sure they did not come up for a committee vote.  Almost all bills suffer this fate.

The dead bills were: 1) the Carlucci two-year moratorium bill that actually would have allowed Dr. Shah to end the moratorium any time he deemed fit; 2) the aforementioned Assembly two-year moratorium bill sponsored by State Senator Avella; 3) Senator Avella's fracking ban bill and 4) Senator Avella's bill that would have eliminated a hazardous waste exemption for gas drilling wastes.

The Carlucci bill died in committee because the Republicans who share control of the State Senate clearly said they would not support it. 

All the Avella bills died in committee because that Senator is a minority Democrat who essentially has zero ability to negotiate legislative deals.  That authority rests with Republican and IDC leadership which jointly controls the State Senate.  

Anti-fracking bills sponsored by Senator Avella essentially get the kiss of death.  That is why his fracking ban bill has never come up for a committee vote.

FYI, the strategy of asking for bills stuck in committee to be brought to the State Senate floor for an up/down vote is a ruse.  That never happens.  Leadership only brings bills to the floor when they are wired to pass.  

I predicted in 2009 that no anti-fracking bills would be enacted into law in New York because State Senate Republicans invariably block bills aimed at thwarting shale fracking.  I stand by that prediction.  Any responsible public interest lobbyist in Albany would concur.  

New York's Shale Fracking Moratorium Must Not Be Rescinded

The bottom line is that Governor Cuomo alone will decide whether or not shale fracking is permitted in New York.

We are approaching the fifth anniversary of New York's shale fracking moratorium.  It is vitally important that we keep pushing hard to make sure that Governor Cuomo cannot rescind our state's moratorium.  Each and every day counts.

Our main goal is to halt Dr. Shah's secret DOH Review.  Given the shortcomings of the Geisinger Study (not even formally begun due to a lack of $24 million in funding) and the EPA study (estimated not to be completed until 2016), Governor Cuomo must conduct a comprehensive "Public Health Impact Study" to resolve all concerns about shale fracking once and for all.

If we can achieve that goal, New York's shale fracking moratorium would be extended for many years to come.

Keep hammering away.  No let-up for a second.  

Thank you so much.

Very best regards,


"If you would like to unsubscribe, please send a blank email to:"



See 7/1/13 formatted alert: