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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

Jeanne Tucker
Talic, Inc
13 James St
Auburn, NY
Lynne Saulsbury
Landmark Drive
Ithaca, NY
Maren Herman
85 Starks Road
Newfield, NY
greg tumbarello
Red Newt Cellars Winery
120 Blair Street
Ithaca, NY
Bryan Filak
139 N. Washington St. #4
Havre de Grace, MD
Jamie Duong
120 Blair
Ithaca, NY
Andrew Harden
1012 Reynolds Road
Johnson City, New York
antoinette schmidt
151 Schleiermacher rd
Livingston Manor , NY
Thomas Hudson
13 South Avenue
Ithaca, NY
Wendy Houseworth
9333 St Rt 89
Trumansburg, NY
Allison Verley
3892 highland ave
skaneateles, new york
Corinne Vickey
115 Lake Street
Saranac Lake, New York
Seth Lutter
45 Elm Street
Trumansburg, NY
Marley Lubin
193 Draht Hill Rd
Elmira, NY
Laura Glasner
7491 Modock Rd
Victor, NY
Peter Gray
599 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York
Jody Schwan
4077 South Street ext
Trumansburg, NY
Malcolm Miller
33 Meadowbrook Dr
Auburn, NY
Allison Santos
6088 Beckhorn Road
Hector, NY
Donald Olson
1006 Barnaby Mdws.
Elbridge, NY
Brandon Krazinski
7 Radar Hill DR.
Horseheads, NY
Glenn Hughes
76 Annee Lane
Freeville, NY
Vernell Sonner
722 Goose Gap rd Po box 6277
Sevierville, Tn
Paul Allen
518 Wood Road
Freeville, NY
Sylvia March
224 Rt 9W
Palisades, New York
Colleen McKenzie
554 Enfield Center Rd E
ithaca, NY
Lucy Loewenstein
35 Bennett Ave
Binghamton, NY
Vered Lieb
New York, NY
daphne verley
ridge rd.
cazenovia, n.y.
David Barnet
1445 Upper Hill Rd.
Middlesex, NY
Richard Wehrman
PO Box 146
E. Bloomfield, NY
Irving Markovitz
Queen College
28-15 215 Street
Bayside, NY
james h. nadal
5040 johnson hill dr.
canandaigua, NY
Martin Steinhauser
15 Birch Ln
Fairport , NY
Patricia Palomaki
7360 Sachem Trail
Victor, NY
Margaret Tyler
PO Box 278
Naples, NY
ingrid rockford
29 willis ave
syosset, ny
David C Hall
27 Dryer Ave
Victor, NY
Michael Burnett
1403 Upper Hill Road
Middlesex, NY
320 Hemingway Drive
Rochester, NY
Christine Finnigan
3783 Colegrove rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Philip Knopp
P.O. Box 610
Churchville, VA
Marcia Joslyn
15 Birch Ln
Fairport, NY
Melissa Groo
89 Shindagin hollow rd
Brooktondale, Ny
Anne Hoyt
665 Castle St.
Geneva, NY
Deborah Kair
33 Fieldstone Dr
Hartsdale, NY
linda hjortshoj
1064 old state road
sterling, ny
Nari Mistry
Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Kyle Gage
2370 mcburney rd.
clifton springs, NY
Susan Phillips
4440 Cole Rd
Syracuse, NY
Jacob Oblak
158 Colchester Rd Unit C
Essex Junction, VT
Claire Hall
27 Dryer Ave
Victor, NY
M.M. Jesse
Riepkamp 69
Vianen, UT
David Ruppert
154 Ellis Hollow Creek Rd
Ithaca, NY
Priya van der Pasch
Oudwijkerveldstraat 44a
Utrecht, Utrecht
eric patouillard
123 antonio rios
coquimbo, chile
Ulrike Leifeld
Amtshof 6
Wustrow Wendland, Germany
Linda Medina
sandy Lundy
16910 Evergreen Valley road
timberville, va
Eleonore Nogues
45 rue de la Bienfaisance
Vincennes, France
John Fox
37 Highland Ave
Geneva, NY
Cal Mendelsohn
80 Prospect Avenue
Nanuet, Ny
Annette Nadeau
336 Boiceville Road
Brooktondale, NY
Anne Wilcox
783 Old State Road
Binghamton, New York
Linda Martin
Aurora, NY
Jeffrey Drees
James Madison University
877 Port Republic Rd
Harrisonburg, VA
Liam Henrie
2 lilac dr
rochester, NY
Lori Ducharme
1098 Channing Woods Drive
Webster, NY
Manna Jo Greene
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
724 Wolcott Ave.
Beacon, NY
Carolyn Blizzard
PO Box 460 ... 14 Finger Lakes Ct.
Union Springs, New York
Frank Pennisi
300 Brooks Road
Binghamton, NY
radha van der Meulen
Toendrameer 19
Houten, netherlands
Pete Walton
1649 Devon Lane
Harrisonburg , VA
Dennis Finn
5187 Greig Road
Greig, NY
Paul Schliffer
1445 Upper Hill Rd
MIddlesex, NY
Rebecca Sewell
4790 Ridge Road
Cayuga, NY
Merlin Dailey
5059 Knapp Rd.,
Middlesex, New York
Gordon Sewell
4790 Ridge Road
Cayuga, NY
Allison Urbanek
1445 Upper Hill Rd
Middlesex, NY
Gretchen Fox
37 Highland Ave
Geneva, NY
Robert Kayser
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
4664 Driftwood Lane
Geneva, NY
Kathryn Spier-Miller
3981 Center Street Road
Auburn, NY
Anna Featherly
1825 East Lake Road
Skaneateles, NY
Valerie Kayser
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
4664 Driftwood Lane
Geneva, New York
Jennie Howard
101 berry st #3
Brooklyn, Ny
Isis Dalmolin
503 Robert Grant Ave
Silver Spring, MD
Nathan Sutton
3669 Jefferson St
Kansas City, MO
Lesley Lawton
28 Edgewood Road
Binghamton, NY
Larry Farnand
196 North Street
Geneva, New York
stéphanie crenn
77 rue labat
paris, france
Naomi Gottlieb-Miller
54 Walnut Ave
Takoma Park, MD
faye henrie
49 washburn pk
rochester, ny
Caryl Dooley
3932 Willowdale lane
Geneva, NY
Adam Wilcox
783 Old State Road
Binghamton, NY
Lynda Carlson
4951 Sunnyside Rd
Middlesex, NY
Mary Anne Courtney
53 Taylor Ave
Waterloo, NY
Phyllis Sherman
57 Gibson St.
Canandaigua, NY
Kelly Smith
757 Clark St Ext
Groton, NY
Ralph Lee
463 West St. #405D
New York City, NY
Laurie Eckert
4203 Jefferson Street
Hyattsville, Maryland
Patricia Bieck
51 twin oaks drive
rochester, ny
andrea olearczyk
16 old pasture road
cohasset , ma
jason green
6405 Palmiter Road
Alfred Station, NY
Tapasia Keet
W.Tomsonbos 24
Heiloo, Netherlands
Blackie Oldweiler
Finger Lakes Trail Conference
Stephanie McMahon
6405 Plamiter Rd.
Alfred Station, NY
Richard Stafford
380 Bear Swamp Rd
Chenango Forks, NY
Amy Trompetter
413 Main St
Rosendale, NY
Nancy Galleher
15 Cornwall Road
Geneva, NY
Sharyn Powell
concerned citizen
377 W North St
Geneva, NY
Wallis Jaklitsch
1590 wynkoop st
Denver, Colorado
William Simms
1907 Fulmer Valley
Wellsville, New York
elaine simms
1907 fulmer valley rd
wellsville, ny
Andrea Fishman
36 E 7th Street
New York, NY
judith diraddo
31 thrall street
naples , ny
Will Sherwood
19 Lyon Street
Naples, NY
John McCabe
5655 Stid Hill Rd
Naples, NY
Frank Clark
P.O. Box 2
Atlanta, NY
Chandra Flahive
Youth counselor
1000 North Decatur
Watkins Glen, New York
Donald Klein
Science teacherss of NYS
4826 Richardson Road
Skaneateles, NY