You are here

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

Jarrett Villines
410 West Seneca st.
Ithaca, NY
Aaron Froehlich
108 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
gARY Wakula
377 Hunts corners road
marathon , NY.
Molly MacMillan
511 Chestnut St. #2
Ithaca, NY
Sue Kingsbauer
208 N Main St
Naples, NY
francesca mustacchia
10 blossom lane
kerhonkson, ny
saul braun
10 blossom lane
kerhonkson, NY
julian shepherd
Susquehanna Group Sierra Club
45 Moore Ave.
Binghamton, NY
Charles Haag
155 N. Central Av.
Springville, New York
Melissa Cichostepski
341 Third Ave
Vestal, NY
John Cichostepski
21 Davis Ave
Johnson City, NY
Susan Arterian
77 Pleasant Avenue
White Plains, New York
Theresa Walsh
74 Mary Street
Auburn , ny
jennifer mellott
4335 south street ext
trumansburg, ny
Rachel Davis
48 Wedgewood Drive
Ithaca, NY
Elsa Maria Oliveira Aroso
r. Bela da Fontinha, 10
Porto, Portugal
Monty Berman
SUNY Empire State College
120 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, New York
Josh Stack
2816 Pompey Hollow Road
Cazenovia, New York
vicky southall
5611 godfreys pond rd
bergen, NY
Mary D'Amico
45 Topland Rd.
Hartsdale, New York
Sandra Wold
112 West Jay Street
Ithaca, NY
Sandra Till
1250 48th Ave #5
San Francisco, CA
alyssa folden
2652 N Beachwood Drive Suite C
los angeles, ca
david hartley
34 vulcan st
buffalo, NEW YORK
Tim Shullberg
4101 E. 8th Street
Long Beach, CA
Jessica Hemingway
19 Rochester Street
Hannibal , New York
Helena Viramontes
21 Brooktree Lane
Ithaca, NY
Kathleen Quinn-Jacobs
52 Sodom Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Kelly Savage
648 Amsterdam Ave Apt 4B
New York, NY
Alanna Rose
156 Talbot Rd
West Winfiled, NY
Sharad Goel
648 Amsterdam Ave Apt 4B
New York, NY
Karen Marmer
1116 Elm St.
Peekskill, NY
Jorg-Michael Schwarz
1116 Elm Street
peekskill, NY
douglas pulitzer
232 rachel carson way
ithaca, ny
m young
greenstar cooperative
221 dubois rd
ithaca, NY
Mira Yardumian
PO Box 291
Bryn Athyn, PA
Normandy Alden
156 Talbot Rd
West Winfield, NY
Catherine Haines
111 Eastwood Avenue
Ithaca, NY
Fred Cohn
227 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Schoonmaker
377 South Road
West Winfield, NY
Lawrence Loewinger
Highland Concerned Citizens
376 Broome Street
New York, NY
Calvin Smith
68 Mary St
Ithaca, NY
Deena Freed
112 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Devin Zuber
Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley
2332 Virginia Street
berkeley, CA
Jeff Bean
po box 784
Fairfax, CA
Peter Bianco
12 Hara Crescent
New Hartford, NY
Frank Grasso
4 June Court
White Plains, NY
meg gibson
165 Pinehurst ave. apt. 5G
Marie McCann-Barab
30 Park Circle
White Plains, NY
Daphne Cohn
227 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, Ny
Laurie Osmond
Onteora Board of Education
4988 Route 212
Willow, NY
Carry Kyzivat
Econeighbors of White Plains
17 Maplemoor Lane
White Plains, NY
Shada Sullivan
2424 Walton Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA
Anne Bobroff-Hajal
5 Hathaway Lane
White Plains, NY
Deborah Body
117 W. Roswell Ave.
Nedrow, NY
Ken Jupiter
381 Mt Pleasant Rd
Freeville, NY
Lauren O'Sullivan
115 E. Glenside Ave, Suite 6
Glenside, PA
Dianna Knipprath
2724 Huntingdon Pike
Huntingdon Valley, PA
Lucy Ryan
89 Lehn Springs Dr.
Williamsville, NY
Patricia Maier
6959 Schuyler Rd.
Almond, NY
Elvina Amati
Warren Real Estate
700 Warren Rd, 20-3E
Ithaca, NY
Marina Tokman
3 Cedar Lane
Ithaca, NY
James Mongan
43 overlook drive
Woodstock, New york
Julie Newhouse
204 Ridgedale Road
Ithaca, NY
Tatiana Sanchez
4608 Liberty Ave.
Liberty Ave, NJ
Michael Tokman
3 Cedar Lane
Ithaca, NY
Barbara Bergman
55 Bush Lane
Ithaca, NY
Jeff Munson`
2274 Scottsville Road
Scottsvile, NY
Randi Millman-Brown
105 christopher circle
Ithaca, NY
Paul Sawyer
435 N Aurora
Ithaca, NY
Kathryn Russell
434 Snyder Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Judith Reppy
493 Ellis Hollow Creek Rd.
Ithaca, New York
Peter Trutmann
203 East Fall Street
Ithaca, NY
Kate Gefell
410 East Lincoln Street
Ithaca, NY
Alan Singer
3021 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY
Tracy Mitrano
Cornell University
20 Chase Lane
Ithaca, New York
richard rogers
307 wood st
ithaca, ny
Martha Taranto
201 Clevland Ave.
Ithaca, NY
Sara Ferguson
305 2nd Street
Ithaca, NY
Andrea Chaloux
23 14th St Fl 2
Watervliet, NY
Marcy Latta
3910 Irving Street
Philadelphia, PA
Michael Milgroom
94 Lake Forest Lane
Lansing, NY
jon widercrantz
502 s plain st
ithaca, ne3w york
Scott Perez
Ecological Dimensions Consulting
201A Christopher Lane
Ithaca, NY
Fran Spadfora Manzella
370 Stone Quarry Road
Ithaca, NY
patricia rodriguez
3 1/2 Elmcrest Circle
Ithaca, NY
Jeremy P. Taylor
212 Hook Place
Ithaca, NY
Alice Mainiero
12 Lucille Road
Carmel, NY
steve gibbs
165 A Oakwood Avenue
Elmira Heights, NY
Maryl Mendillo
2969 State Rte 34B
Aurora, NY
Michael Moore
1028 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY
Teresa Snyder
P.O.Box 152
Pulteney, NY
Tammarion Lam
830 Hanhsaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Randy Hardy
P.O. Box 158
Trumansburg, NY
Laurie Dashley
109 Cherry Road
Syracuse, NY
Elizabeth Hess
704 S. Plain St.
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Mericle
201 Park Pl
Ithaca, NY
Suzanne Gervais
1 ringwood court south
ithaca, ny
Kathryn March
1109 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, New York
Andrea Hazard
Danby Gas Drill Task Force
47 Bald Hill Rd.
Spencer, NY
Thomas Shevory
422 N. Titus Ave.
Ithaca, New York
Niels Schulz
Interfaith Impact NYS
2658 Holler Rd
Cortland, NY
Taylor Price
74 Mary Street
Auburn, NY
Allen Back
507 Triphammer Rd
Ithaca, NY
Low Thompson
Green Party
146 Main St. Apt.e
Cortland, New York
Hilda Moleski
920 Cliff St.
Ithaca, NY
Sara Culotta
1005 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca, New York (NY)
Patricia Krause
9 Oak Road
Congers, NY
Kenneth J Bistrovich
171 Leonard Ave
Syracuse, NY
Pamela Engram
102 Skyvue Road
Ithaca, NY
Bernie Fetterly
Tompkins County Health Care Task Forceincludx
800 South Plain Street 1401
Ithaca, New York
Jeffner Allen
--, New York
Jayne Port
246 Smith Rd
Newfield, NY
Pinky Chandra
1008 Triphammer Rd
Ithaca, NY
Perri LoPinto
531 Elm Street
Ithaca, New York
Barb Morley
5777 Gulf Rd
Alpine, NY
matthew fairbrother
po box 37
atlanta , ny
Peggy Lombardo
1779 Gargoyle Rd., Lot #24
Olean, New York
Edmund Brown
Cairncrest Farm
156 Talbot Road
West Winfield, NY
Deborah Villano
14 westwood dr
Auburn, New York