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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

Dawn Vollmer
500 North
N Tonawanda, NY
Linda Montgomery
102 Dover Circle
Syracuse, New York
Sarah Brewster
830 Shore road apt. 2 p
Long Beach, New York
Gail Murray
7029 Basswood Rd.
Auburn, New York
Benjamin Parkhurst
3063 County Route 4
Fulton, New York
Harlee Atwell
Broome Community College
123 Main Street
Windsor, NY
Andrew Fergel
141 Floral Avenue
Johnson City, NY
bette heger
19 Menlo Place
Rochester, New York
Julie Kane Brinkmann
Children and Environment
23 Carney Road
Ulster Park, New York
Julia Moore
296 bearswamp rd
chenango Forks , NY
Margie Barab
1225 Park Ave.
New York, New York
Cindy Boberskyj
158 Eden Ln
Rochester, NY
Tsitsi Jaji
3941 Irving St. #10
Philadelphia, PA
ervin goodson
1867 7th ave,
ny, ny
Seth Sanders
135 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, New York
Emily Greitzer
417 Cliff St.
Santa Cruz, CA
Samantha Karmasine
634 Washington Street Apt 3B
New York, NY
Patricia Miller
2108 New Scotland rd
Slingerlands, ny
Lynn Thirion
2011 Maple St
Millport, NY
May Lovelace
417 E. Lincoln St.
Ithaca, NY
John del Campo
43 Hillcrest Drive
Alfred, NY
Kathleen Dickerson
32 Oak St.
Johnson City, New York
Roberta Libous
153 Jay Street
Johnson City, NY
Carol Slavetskas
17 Rossmore Pl
binghamton, NY
mary mcgarry-newman
808 clark st. ext.
groton, ny
Kathleen Judd
1488 Warren Road
Hancock, NY
jon buckley
2905 lordville rd
hancock, ny
kathryn nocerino
139 W 19th St, 2B
new york, NY
Renee DePrato
16 Seymour Street
Binghamton, NY
Marybeth Tarzian
603 Mitchell Street
Ithaca, NY
Bridget Slocum
7187 Jacksonville Road
Trumansburg, New York
Mark Johnson
1866 Ocean Ave #7F
Brooklyn, New York
Christine Macpherson
49 Pinewood Avenue
Albany, NY
Donna Delosh Feeney
PO Box 191
Jeffersonville, NY
Teresa Kelech
66 Adams Ave.
Johnson City, NY
Linda Beebe
2422 Danby Road
Willseyville, NY
Larry Beebe
2422 Danby Road
Willseyville, NY
Angie Dickerson
336 Echo Rd.
Vestal, NY
Karen Juser
64 Hardy Road
Johnson City, New York
Diane Miller
33 Meadowbrook Dr
Auburn, NY
peggy basalyga
343 stone hill rd
pound ridge, ny
Eileen O'Shea
20 W 64 St (# 30E)
New York, New York
Matthew Steele
49 Liberty Highway
Windsor, NY
Denille Steele
49 Liberty Highway
Windsor, NY
Melissa Williams
57 River Street
Sidney, NY
Joseph Petre
149 College St
Buffalo, NY
Michelle Sutton
499 State Route 299
Highland , NY
Ariana Shapiro
211 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, New York
w venneberg
PO Box 562
Gig Harbor, wa
Richard Foster
70 The Hills
Port Ewen, NY
Paul Osgood
1021 Albany Post Rd
Gardiner, NY
Thomas Hackett
70 Wall Street
Kingston, NY
Craig Bernardini
Hostos Community College, CUNY
270 Convent Avenue 9E
New York, NY
Emoretta Yang
40 Mill St
Lansing, NY
Tanya Radford
270 Convent Avenue Apt 9E
Carin DeNat
465 Stony Brook Road
Palenville, NY
Stella Reschke
63 Ballou Road
Owego, Ny
burton stein
n.almond valley road
arkport, ny
Jim Birmingham
15 Cranberry Rd.
Washingtonville, NY
Thomas Poole
Vassar College
124 Raymond Ave.
Poughkeepsie, NY
Gary Dreiblatt
501 W. 110 Street
N.Y., N.Y.
Sally Doty
129 Spisak Rd
Afton, NY
Robert Doty
129 Spisak Rd
Afton, New York
Bill Khan
flat 1 pendine house pendine
carmarthen, wales
Tiffany Wilkie
POB 165
Davenport, NY
frances strecker
37 point circle south
coram, New York
Thomas Tomasky
47 Pollard Hill Road
Endicott, NY
Gale Wallach
46 School Lane
Huntington, NY
justin nemia
132 sunrise
vestal, ny
howard gandt
setauket, ny
George McCracken
76 N. Walnut St.
Beacon, NY
Michael Mancini
Box 302
Auburn, NY
karni griffin
1059 michael dr
endwell, ny
robert jacobson
136 north st
dryden, NY
Edyth Maurer
185 Old Virginia Road
Oxford, NY
Jessica Marriam
305 Leicester Street
Caledonia, NY
Jill Rasp
220 W. Broadway, 204
Long Beach, New York
Jeff and Jill Krinsky
facebook discission board: Horizontal Hydrofracking in Upstate New York
220 West Broadway St, Apt. 204
Long Beach, New York
Joe Watts
21 valley drive
salisbury mills, NY
Joan Kearney Flatt
Sterling Park
Cortland, NY
Roberta Mahler
233 Crombie Street
Huntington Station , New York
cristian graca
663 cattail rd
livingston manor, new york
Jennifer Bergen
663 cattail rd
livingston manor, new york
Barnie graca
663 cattail rd
livingston manor, new york
Tim Keys
207 Stoller Hill Rd
Hartwwick, NY
Kathleen McCarroll
63 Park Ave.
Saranac Lake, NY
Rose Davis
58 hill ave
Johnson city, NY
Christopher Origer
13 Tremont Ave
Binghamton, NY
steve gordon
110 overlook rd.
ithaca, n.y.
Holland Gregg
Citizens to Preserve the (Rural) Character of Skaneateles
3872 Jordan Road
Skaneateles, NY
John Konz
40 Lincoln Street
Elmont, NY
Debra Higbee
Marys Peak Group - Sierra Club
4750 SW Nash Avenue
Corvallis, Oregon
Janet Hinkel
1001 Lafayette Ave
Buffalo, NY
Justin Stein
19 Old Colony Dr
Larchmont, NY
Amy Jellinek
111 North Plain Street
Ithaca, NY
Neil Daniel
48 3rd Ave
N Tonawanda, Nwe York
Delora Specker
9 E. Miller Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Kirby Edmonds
PO Box 321
Ithaca, New York
Nancy Bereano
305 Auburn Street
Ithaca, New York
Alfredo Rossi
200 Cabrini Blvd. #57
New York, NY
Barbara Stith
Benson Road
Skaneateles, NY
Angelo and Lorraine Caci
4639 East Lakeview Drive
Auburn , NY
Margaret K Brown
3793 Jordan Road
Skaneateles, NY
Carol Keeler
3936 Mandy Rue
Auburn, NY
Nicole Thomas
131 main street
binghamton, new york
Laura Stone
Stone Rd
McGraw, NY
Ron wish
great river shamanic alliance
112 highmount ave
nayck, ny
marie kullman
171 Lisbon ave.
Buffalo, NY
Judith Van Allen
1667 Taughannock Blvd.
Trumansburg, NY
leland henry jr
Concerned Citizens of Seneca Co.
93 virginia st
waterloo, NY
Steve Weissburg
958 Tallow Hill Rd
Spencer, NY
jessica richards
17 wales drive
norwich, ny
Elisabeth Nonas
305 Auburn Street
Ithaca, New York
Jeannine Fancher
191 Public Landing
Springfield Center, NY
Kathleen Alvey
Cornell University Sustainability Hub
108 Eddy Street, Apt. 11
Ithaca , NY
Erin Brown
PO Box 71
union springs, ny
Joyce Spector
Zeller International Ltd.
15261 State Hwy 30/ PO Box Z
Downsville, NY
Gary Zeller
Zeller International Ltd.
15261 State Hwy 30/PO Box Z
Downsville, NY
Susan Sarabasha
311 Tupper Road
West Danby, NY
quinn caya
1001 Lafayette ave
buffalo, ny