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Incredibly Great Red-Letter Day/NYS Shale Fracking Moratorium Fifth Anniversary/Steady as She Goes


I write today to request that you give yourself a nice pat on the back.  

I am immensely pleased to note that this is a red-letter day in American environmental history.  It is hard to believe, but New York just marked the fifth anniversary of its shale fracking moratorium.  

Thank you so much for all the assistance you have rendered in making sure that not one shale gas production well has ever been fracked in the Empire State.

Please allow me to review how we got here and what lies ahead.  We are not out of the woods by any means.  

See recent media coverage at the end of this alert.

New York's Historic Shale Fracking Moratorium

On July 23rd, 2008, Governor David Paterson, DEC Commissioner, Pete Grannis, Executive Deputy DEC Commissioner, Stuart Gruskin, and the Governor's Environmental Adviser, Judith Enck, adopted the policy that no shale fracking would be permitted in New York until comprehensive public health and environmental safeguards were adopted pursuant to a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) proceeding.  

Please join me in publicly thanking them for their wisdom in this matter.

Our Strategy Has Successfully Prevented Shale Fracking in NYS

When DEC released its draft SGEIS on 9/30/09 for a 90-day public comment period, there was virtually no organized opposition to adopting a Final SGEIS.  It was widely reported that New York's shale fracking moratorium would end by March 2010.

On November 8, 2009, my colleagues and I documented a total of 273 fires, explosions, tainted drinking water wells and massive drilling wastewater releases associated with gas and oil extraction activities in New York using DEC's own hazardous substances spill data.  We received tremendous press coverage thanks to Tom Wilbur.

In the ensuing six weeks, we garnered a total of 6,000 signatories to a coalition letter which requested that Governor Paterson withdraw the inadequate and incomplete draft SGEIS and send it back to the drawing board to correct its fundamental flaws.

National environmental groups memorably predicted that our coalition letter had a "snowball's chance in hell" of succeeding, but it is the essential reason why not one shale gas production well has ever been fracked anywhere in New York.

For nearly four years, our strategy of preventing adoption of a Final SGEIS has effectively kept massive shale fracking hazards entirely out of our state.  Is that mind-boggling or what?   This is how we did it:

A.  The original draft SGEIS could not be adopted because our grassroots campaign hammered away on its profound shortcomings for more than a year until Governor Paterson miraculously signed Executive Order No. 41 on 12/13/10 and required the draft SGEIS to be "revised" in order to resolve its shortcomings.  

B.  When the Revised Draft SGEIS was released on 9/7/11, we documented its 17 major shortcomings and garnered more than 22,600 signatories to the coalition letter that requested that it again be withdrawn, notably for its failure to address public health concerns.

C.  In 2012, we brought enormous pressure to bear on environmental members of the Hydraulic Fracking Advisory Panel to make sure that they did not provide "green" political cover for Governor Cuomo's reported Southern Tier shale fracking demonstration project.

D.  On 9/20/12, DEC Commissioner Martens announced that Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah would conduct a Review to address the shortcomings of New York's "health impact analysis." Rigorous mandates for the DOH Review were spelled out.

Nearly a year later, the DOH Review has yet to be completed thanks to our repeated attacks on its utter lack of public participation.  

Failure to complete the DOH Review caused DEC's revised shale fracking rulemaking proceeding to collapse on 2/12/13 without being completed.

The DOH Review conducted in total secrecy without any public input has increasingly been decried by the gas industry, thousands of grassroots activists, hundreds of government officials as well as religious leaders, academicians, farmers, community and civic groups, health care professionals and business owners.  

The Bottom Line

Until the DOH Review is completed, no Final SGEIS can be adopted.  Until a Final SGEIS is adopted, New York's shale fracking moratorium remains inforce.  

Governor Cuomo and members of the Fracking Advisory Panel are facing growing pressure to halt Dr. Shah's DOH Review and require a comprehensive "Public Health Impact Study" to be conducted to resolve all shale fracking public health concerns once and for all.  We must keep cranking up the heat with that goal in mind.

At the same time, the Governor is getting battered by pro-frackers, so we still have a long row to hoe.  

No Let-Up.  Keep Pushing Harder Than Ever.

Write members of the Hydraulic Hydrofracking Advisory Panel to request that the DOH Review be halted and Governor Cuomo be required to undertake a comprehensive shale fracking "Public Health Impact Study:"

Write Governor Cuomo to make that same request:

Check out more great media coverage:

Thank you, again, so much for all your help.

Very best regards,


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