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Coalition Letter to Governor Cuomo Regarding Executive Order No. 41: Requiring Further Environmental Review of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Combined With Horizontal Drilling

January 5, 2011

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor, State of New York
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We, the undersigned, strongly support safeguarding the environment, public health and natural resources of the Catskills, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions that overlay New York’s Marcellus Shale formation, potentially the largest natural gas reservoir in America. That is why we write to thank you for your “continuation” of Executive Order No. 41: Requiring Further Environmental Review of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Combined With Horizontal Drilling.

That order requires your Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to:

“complete its review of the public comments, make such revisions to the Draft SGEIS that are necessary to analyze comprehensively the environmental impacts associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling, ensure that such impacts are appropriately avoided or mitigated consistent with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), other provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and other laws, and ensures (stet) that adequate regulatory measures are identified to protect public health and the environment;”

More than 10,000 citizens, elected officials, business owners, environmental groups and students are signatories to a letter that requested Governor Paterson to withdraw the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (draft SGEIS) due to its fundamental inadequacies and send it back to the drawing board. We are very grateful that Executive Order No. 41 requires DEC to address those shortcomings “comprehensively” before lifting New York’s de facto Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracking moratorium.


A 12/13/10 article in The New York Times underscores the flaws of the draft SGEIS proceeding. Then Acting DEC Commissioner, Peter Iwanowicz, reportedly said: “many of the comments have criticized the proposed standards for failing to adequately address issues like the cumulative impact of multiple drill sites, disposal of wastewater from the drilling and the protection of drinking water.”

DEC deliberately excluded a broad range of critical issues from the scope of the SGEIS proceeding by ignoring extensive testimony at its scoping hearings. Moreover, a great deal of new information has become available since the scoping process ended. Against that background and in order to fulfill the goals of Executive Order No. 41, we respectfully request that you require DEC to:

A) Convene a Citizens Advisory Committee as well as a separate Technical Advisory Committee to guide the agency in its decision-making. At a minimum, these committees should be comprised of representatives from: 1) local, state and federal government agencies involved with regulating Marcellus Shale gas matters; 2) local governments, the State Legislature and Congress; 3) the natural gas industry; 4) property owners who leased their mineral rights; 5) civic, environmental, public interest and good government groups; 6) concerned citizens; and 7) academic researchers.

B) Provide public notice and accept comments for no less than 30 days regarding how the agency can best fulfill the requirements of Executive Order No. 41; respond in writing to all comments before beginning the process of revising the draft SGEIS; and afford the public regular, on-going opportunities for participation and comment.

C) Adopt the following proposed policies:

  1. Discharges of natural gas flowback, drilling and production wastewaters must meet New York State’s GA (groundwater that supplies potable drinking water) effluent limitations when discharged into ground and surface waters or public and private treatment plants or re-used for hydraulic fracturing or injected into underground disposal wells. Natural gas wastewaters have been documented to contain high concentrations of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), toxic chemicals and Technology Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM). These persistent pollutants can contaminate groundwaters, “pass through” “secondary” wastewater treatment systems, concentrate in residual sludges and cause worker hazards.
  2. Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing must be regulated by Individual EIS proceedings instead of a Generic EIS. DEC proposed to require individual EIS reviews for the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, but not for the rest of the Marcellus Shale formation. Moreover, according to the draft SGEIS, “Flowback water recoveries reported from horizontal Marcellus wells in the northern tier of Pennsylvania range between 9 and 35 percent of the fracturing fluid pumped (emphasis added)” (Page 5-97.) Those meager recovery rates support the conclusion that horizontal hydrofracturing constitutes deep well injection of fluids that could threaten drinking water supply sources. DEC requires State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permits for deep well injection of natural gas fluid. Those permits can only be granted on the basis of site-specific, individual EIS reviews.
  3. An investigation must be undertaken to determine whether the 1992 GEIS is sufficient to safeguard public health and if “No known instances of groundwater contamination have occurred from previous horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing projects in New York State.” (See: DEC Marcellus Shale homepage.)

    DEC concluded in its Final SGEIS Scope: “In the absence of a pattern of incidents that indicates a regulatory weakness or gap, the occurrence of isolated accidents or violations do not of themselves constitute reason to re-open the GEIS.” (See 8.3.2)

    DEC’s assertion is directly contradicted by hundreds of spills reported to the agency as well as additional information compiled by Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany County Health Departments. Those data were not provided to DEC during its scoping hearings.

    DEC’s investigation must include a review of the following information:

  4. DEC’s GEIS must be updated on a comprehensive basis. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote to DEC that its 1992 GEIS is out-of-date in so many respects that it should not serve as the basis for developing new horizontal hydrofracturing regulations. DEC must revise the GEIS to address all of the regulatory shortcomings identified by EPA, including: potential impacts to public health, water supply, water quality, wastewater treatment operations, local and regional air quality, management of naturally occurring radioactive materials and cumulative environmental impacts.



In conclusion, Executive Order No. 41 is an historic effort to require DEC to make sure that the environmental impacts associated with Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing are “appropriately avoided or mitigated” prior to the permitting of that activity. The actions we respectfully request you to undertake would help achieve that goal and serve as a model of effective government regulation for the nation as a whole.

Thank you very much for your consideration. Best of luck with your administration.

Very truly yours,

Total Signatory Count: 5254

Jean Siracusa
35 Charles Street
Auburn, NY
Jon Peterson
Acoustic Pie Publishing
6800 Swamp Rd
Auburn, NY
John B
The World
3850 Mandy Rue
Auburn, NY
Janine Eng
109 Highgate Place
Ithaca, NY
Eve Sicular
Metropolitan Klezmer
151 First Ave #145
Sherill Tippins
66 Grand St., No. 1
New York, NY
Jeffrey Dembowski
335 State Street
Albany, NY
Luann DeMare
66 Vanbuskirk Gulf Rd
Newfield, NY
Frederick Bays
Green party
2183 potter rd
Troupsburg, NY
Michael Benard
7785 Modock Road
Victor, New York
edmund dembowski
49 woodberry rd
new hartford, ny
Carla Choynowski
1146 Jewett Hill Rd
Apalachin, NY
Theresa Janetatos
44 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY
Laura Stone
130 douglas Dr
Jackson, NJ
Charles Bowman
Western New York Peace Center, Inc.
1272 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY
bill foster
8 brae ridge rd
auburn, ny
Lisa Pulitzer
16 Richmond Place
Huntington Station, NY
Jack Lockwood
306 West Miller Street
Newark , New York
Anthony Lipani
Committee To Preserve The Finger Lakes
70 Waterview Circle
Rochester, NY
Barbara Klockowski
61 Floral Ave
Cortland, NY
Stephanie Low
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
1215 Fifth Ave
William & Sarah Swisher
3852 Carr Hill Road
Cortland, NY
Stephen Engleman
Healing Therapies
125 Valley View
Ithaca, NY
Christopher Sammond
4770 Kinney Gulf Road
Cortland, NY
Angelina Blasich
1014 N. McKinley Avenue
Endicott, NY
Sarah Bigelow
7165 Ackerman Avenue
Cocoa, FL
Robin Pape
301 Maple Ave
Ithaca, NY
Joanne Merriam
26 Stenson Rd
Conklin, NY
Seth Samuels
1531 Shattuck Ave Apt 102
Berkeley, CA
Cynthia Dann
7 Mara Lane
Marathon, NY
Steven Trudeau
PO Box 48
Marathon, NY
TJ Gryphon
Gryphon Construction
po box 223
Mecklenburg, NY
Marlene Johnston
170 Laurel Ave
Menlo Park, CA
Melinda Slawson
310 Cascadilla St
Ithaca, NY
Mark Gooding
1834 Livingston St
Lima, NY
Dawn Noble
40 Linn Avenue
Auburn, NY
Stephen Kline
15 Linn Avenue
Auburn, New York
Barbara Maw
103 Lafayette Ave
Geneva, NY
Betsy Wohl
958 Tallow Hill Road
Spender, NY
Elijah Wohl
958 Tallow Hill Road
Spencer, NY
Steven Weissburg
958 Tallow Hill Road
Spencer, NY
Ann Swisher
Cortland County Planning Board
P.O. Box 1006
McGraw, NY.
Stephen Ingenito
1531 Pine Acres Blvd
Bay Shore, New York
Haidee Oropallo
3296 Noble Road
Seneca Falls, NY
Sheryl Wood
8427 Sugar Pine Circle
Liverpool, NY
John Richardson
10 Briar Patch
Rochester, New York
Trever LaCosse
36 mill st
springville , NEW YORK
Patricia Puylara
591 Russell Hill Rd
Laurens, NY
Margaret Human
New Paltz Climate Action Coalition
81 Prospect St
New Paltz, NY
Holly Rockwell
67 Wilmer St
Rochester, New York
Suzanne Allman
30 Elmwood Avenue
Sodus, NY
Brian Olearczyk
16 old pasture
cohasset, ma
Sandra Verity
1 Canaan Road
Brooktondale, NY
patricia lasek
8432 trenton falls rd
barneveld, NY
Jolie Holland
579 Vanderbilt Ave apt 3
Brooklyn , NY
Jonathan Frankel
530 Hudson St.
Ithaca, NY
Susan Davis
First United Methodist Church
101 E. Union St.
Endicott, NY
Christopher Cartwright
214 Lesky Road
Horseheads, NY
Lucille Wiggin
80 Chestnut St.
Oneonta, NY
Heather O'Grady-Evans
PO Box 713
Burdett, NY
BrieAnne Olearczyk
71 Huxley Dr.
Amherst, New York
Brian Simonson
71 Huxley Dr.
Amherst, New York
Victoria Davis
1336 Stoney Run Rd
Pittsfield, PA
Stanley Wase
574 Cairo Junction Road
Catskill, NY
Robbin Wase
574 Cairo Junction Road
Catskill, NY
Kathleen Hogan
Sennett Rd
Weedsport, NY
Daniel Chamberlin
147 Sheedy Road
Vestal , NY
Teri Chamberlin
147 Sheedy Road
Vestal, NY
Debby McCormick
30 s Marvine Ave
Auburn, NY
Jean Anyon
Hancock Group
1035 Cadosia Road
Hancock, NY
annie casmpbell
fitzgerald rd
trumansburg, ny
k mark
702 Hancock st
ithaca, ny
Ellie/Skip Sanders
72 Whitetail Drive
Ithaca, NY
Jeffrey Kittay
Box 12
White Lake, NY
Eva Kittay
Box 12
White Lake, NY
Marion Gunderson
428 Elm STreet
Ithaca, NY
Jessie Reich
23 westlake ave apt. 4
auburn, new york
James Crenner
4911 East Lake Road
Romulus, NY
David Whiehouse
5091 Landis Road
Hornell, NY
Joseph Migliacccio
concerded citizen
161-16 85th street
Howard Beach, NY
Leigh Keeley
130 Fayette Street
Ithaca, New York
Pamela Cooley
190 County Highway 38
East Worcester, New York
Dorothy Lisle
10 Bailor Road
Brooktondale, NY
Tamara Loomis
409 Columbia St
Ithaca, NY
charles sumprer
22 marion place
pearl river, new york
Kalika Stern
75 Timberhill Lane
South Fallsburg, NY
Gina Nigro
3509 West Ave
Interlaken, NY
Daniel Jurado
735 Anderson Hill Rd.
Purchase, NY
Richard Seehausen
PO Box 143
Hurleyville, NY
John Cusick
1419 Prospect Street
Willard, NY
Beth wish
112 highmount ave
nayck, ny
Elise Van Allen
P.O. Box 2286
Albany, NY
Christine Morrissey
800 S Plain St., Apt 505
Ithaca, NY
Karen L Cross
312 N Titus Blvd. Apt#4
Ithaca, NY
Sarah Serrianne Colella
74 Brooklyn Rd
Freeville, New York
Sherry Lee
Sierra Club
1518 Howell Street
Missoula, MT
Barbara J. Warren
Citizens' Environmental Coalition
33 Central Ave.
Albany, NY
Paul G. Brown
105 Hillsboro Pkwy.
Syracuse, New York
denise mooney
4450 Lower Covert Road
Trumansburg, NY
Polly Wood
136 Seven Mile Dr. #64
Ithac, NY
matthew schadt
165 myrtle ave
johnson city, new york
Deborah Mangan
9 Rose lane
Bearsville, N.Y.
william monroe
192 salmon creek rd.
lansing, ny
Gregory Kopriva
1012 Calloway Dr.
Hurst, TX
Michael Green
139 W 19 St
New York, New York
Aaron Medick
3010 Johnson place
Wantagh, NY
Brenda Iijima
596 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY
Larry Coury
230 Ashland Place #9A
Brooklyn, NY
Janice Burton
3058 Slaterville Road
Brooktondale, NY
Courtney Ingham
4457 Pumpkin Hollow Rd
Great Valley, NY
Joey Do
413 Shade Tree Circle
Steve Lutter
120 Maple
Ithaca, United States
Alice Wechsler
921 North Mt Road
Gardiner, New York
Nancy Smith
13047 Main Rd
Akron, NY
Pia Dehne
56 Mayer Road
Andes, New York
Michelle Hagyard
115 South Titus Ave
Ithaca, NY
annabelle vallana
pob 323
Ithaca, Ny
Susan Griskonis
640 State Highway 68
Canton, New York
Steven Selin
560 West King Rd
Ithaca, NY
Leslie Steven
274 E. 7th St., Apt. 4C
New York, NY