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EPA Draft National Fracking Study Released/Keep Calling Governor Cuomo/We are not out of the woods yet

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Extremely important national shale fracking developments occurred yesterday. They underscore why it is essential to keep calling Governor Cuomo to make sure that any Final SGEIS Findings Statement includes the critical elements specified in our Quick Action Guide. See above. I implore you to keep phoning until the Findings Statement is issued.

Nationwide Press Attention for EPA Draft Fracking Study

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency just released its long-awaited draft study of fracking impacts on drinking water resources. The report received massive coverage via The NYT, NPR, AP, Gannet and many other news outlets. See links at bottom. The report was five years in the making and concluded:

"We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States. Of the potential mechanisms identified in this report, we found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells. The number of identified cases, however, was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells."


EPA did not investigate the extensive gas and oil extraction hazards that Toxics Targeting documented in New York using local health department and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) data. Our state was not included in EPA's limited study. I will comment on the draft report in order to try to require that information to be addressed in the final version.

Gas and Oil Industry Calls For New York's Shale Fracking Prohibition to be Rescinded Even Before it is Formally Adopted

Immediately after the EPA study was released, the New York State Business Council called for New York's shale fracking prohibition to be rescinded:

"The permit conditions laid out in the revised 2011 SGEIS addressed all of the concerns contained in today's EPA report," Business Council of New York State President and CEO Heather Briccetti said in a statement. "The state should adopt those permit conditions and allow fracking to safely move forward."

The Final SGEIS is horrifically inadequate. If it is ever used to authorize shale fracking, New York would undoubtedly experience severe toxic hazards. We must make sure that never happens.

See my comments at:

DEC Reportedly Still Plans to Implement a Shale Fracking Prohibition by Adopting a Final SGEIS Findings Statement

Fortunately, DEC issued a statement that New York still plans to implement a shale fracking prohibition by adopting a Final SGEIS Findings Statement.

That is encouraging, but it underscores that we are obviously not out of the woods yet. DEC has not issued a Findings Statement nearly TWO WEEKS after completing its informal review and comment period. We have no idea what it might provide. The proverbial devil will be in the details. In short, the SGEIS proceeding has not been concluded. Anything could still happen.

Key Concern

Some Fractivists assert that hundreds of peer-reviewed studies prove that shale fracking cannot be done safely. With all respect, it is critical to understand that EPA and the New York State Department of Health reviewed those studies, conducted additional peer-reviewed investigations and reached dramatically different conclusions.

According to The NYT,

"In conducting the study, the agency evaluated more than 3,500 previously published reports, studies and data sources, including articles published in science and engineering journals; and reports by federal and state governments, nongovernmental organizations and industry groups.

The agency also conducted additional scientific research, resulting in more than 20 peer-reviewed reports and papers."

Most ominously, the DOH Public Health Review concluded:

"Based on this review, it is apparent that the science surrounding HVHF activity is limited, only just beginning to emerge, and largely suggests only hypotheses about potential public health impacts that need further evaluation. That is, many of the published reports investigating both environmental impacts that could result in human exposures and health implications of HVHF activities are preliminary or exploratory in nature."

The reason this conclusion is so important is that any study that fails to document grave shale fracking hazards, no matter how poorly conducted the study might be, could be used to argue that shale fracking should be permitted in New York. That is precisely what we are seeing unfold today.

That is why we must make sure that the Public Health Review's crucial recommendation is implemented by the Findings Statement:

"Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF [high-volume hydraulic fracturing] to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in New York State."


According to The NYT, "The study estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 new wells were drilled and hydraulically fractured annually from 2011 to 2014, and concludes that fracking took place in at least 25 states from 1990 to 2013."

In all likelihood, perhaps 150,000 shale gas and oil wells have been fracked nationwide while not one shale gas production well has ever been fracked in New York. Our highly coordinated efforts were instrumental in achieving that stunning accomplishment. I commend your excellent hard work.

Industry will undoubtedly press harder than ever in the years to come. Given the enormous political and financial stakes in this fight, they will never stop fighting to frack New York's huge shale formations.

We must take nothing for granted. We must keep cranking up the respectful, focused pressure on Governor Cuomo to implement the critical requests that can help make sure that shale fracking is never permitted in our state.

We must keep pushing until the Findings Statement is issued. As someone who lobbied in Albany for 12 years, I can assure you that profound changes to the Findings Statement could be made right up until the bitter end. As they say, "two hours in an eternity in politics."

Thanks so much. No rest for the weary. Keep plugging until the final horn sounds.

Very best regards,


Please support Toxics Targeting's unique efforts to keep shale fracking out of New York now as well as in the years to come:

EPA Study Press Coverage 6/4/2015

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