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

sharon ward
4318 Rt. 21 S
Canandaigua, NY
Heather Buchman
24 Kirkland Ave.
Clinton, NY
Alan Prigal
25 Nelson Road
Lake Huntington, NY
anatole krattiger
PO Box 26
Interlaken, USA
Lyliane Van Gijseghem
525 Crawford Road
Otego, New York
Mary Ewanco
3616 rath Ave
Endwell, NY
gary stephens
9905 Turnpike Road
East Meredith, New York , New York
Alan Mccarty
111 Van Woert Rd.
Spencer, Ny
Jenneka Mccarty
111 Van Woert Rd.
Spencer, Ny
Cynthia Thomas
28 Brodhead Road
west shokan, NY
Martha Farnsworth
2321 Agard Road
Trumansburg, NY
Brian Dewart
350 Ellis Hollow Creek Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Robyn Wishna
909 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca, NY
Mary Bronfenbrenner
4 Muriel Street
Ithaca, New York (NY)
Janet Carter
11 Cantine's Isl. Lane
SAugerties, NY
Anne Treichler
101 Bald Hill School Road
Brooktondale, NY
Lee Haring
6 Cantine's Island Lane
Saugerties, NY
Win McIntyre
Otsego Lake Watershed
2200 Alexander Road
Galway, NY
sally freund
4094 tichenor rd
hector, NY
Maureen Reedy
123 Cayuga st
Trumansburg, NY
William McKnight
60 Holland Drive
West Hurley, New York
Merle McEldowney
three parks democratic club
2166 Broadway apt 16F
New York, NY
Jason Novak
Saugerties, NY
Robert Schecter
211 Adair Rd
Cherry Valley, NY
robert stuart
504 west court st
ithaca, ny
jason doering
238 pump station rd
alma, ny
Anna Carson
114 Shultz Dr. #6
Newfield, NY
Andrea Denekamp
140 Quinlog Road
New Lisbon, New York
Jesse Bennett
373 Broad Street
Waverly, New York
Barbara Usher
144 Besemer Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Barbara Doering
59 York Street
Buffalo, New York
Malcolm Steinberg
1189 Warburton Ave
Yonkers, NY
Diane Addesso
489 Center Valley Road
Worcester, NY
Jim Mielty
24 Strowbridge Street
Trumansburg, NY
lynda bush
biloxi, ms.
biloxi, ms.
Eileen Hughes
5370 Voorheis Rd
Trumansburg, New York
Ariel Demas
23 W. Gibson St.
Canandaigua, NY
Lindy Cummings
Po Box 6672, Ithaca, NY 14850
Ithaca, NY
Adele Ruszak
2013 Chapel Forge Dr
Lancaster, PA
Cody Ann Kimball
435 Etna Road
Ithaca, NY
John Maguire
41 Poplar Road
Garnerville, NY
DollySue Armstrong
2404 30th Ave. Drive East
Bradenton, Florida
Kurt Jordan
37 Washington Street
Trumansburg, NY
Daniel Yokum
Yokum Designs
208 Dubois Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Katherine Denison
289 Rich's Dugway Road
Rochester, New York
Lisa Fernandez
4316 State Rt. 414
Burdett, NY
seth marks
5105 S.R. 224
Odessa, NY
Leslye Schoenhuth
3204 33rd Av So
Minneapolis, MN
Robert Potts
5858 Stilwell Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Geoff Boehm
Jane St..
New York, NY
Rosemarie Twomey
540 Smith Road
Worcester, NY
Eileen Quinlan
39 Hillside Ave
Hastings-on -Hudson, NY
Peggy Haine
5785 Rumsey Road
Trumansburg, NY
Judith Montoya
2236 Seville Court
Arlington, Texas
Catherine Doering
206 North Main Street
Angola, NY
Bill Nealis
3246 RT 51
Morris, New York
Jack Chavesta
1080 Warburton Avenue Suite 1
Yonkers, New York
Alexis Alexander
615 N. Aurora St #3
Ithaca, NY
Jessica Rodgers
5648 Leidenfrost Rd
Hector,, NY
George Kosmaler
People for a Healthy Environment
220 E.14th St.
Elmira Hts., NY
sara benson
367 floral avenue
Ithaca, NY
Ann Hood
U&K Empire State College
121 Navarre Rd.
Rochester, NY
Suzanne Gaglie
112 Cascadilla Ave.
Ithaca, NY
Anne ProudFire
658 Seward St.
Rochester, NY
murray bell
108 county highway 10
morris, newyork
Louise Wu
31 Ravenwood Ave
Rochester, NY
Charles Schroeder
148 Oakland Street
Rochester, NY
ronald Linville
138 Sanford St.
Rochester, New York
Joan Baker
1941 Bridger Rd.
Akron, Ohio
Hank Stone
Citizens for a United Earth
1880 Route 64
Ionia, NY
James Palmer
3042 co hwy 11
Hartwick, New York
Deborah Koop
2944 Corwin Rd.
Branchport, N.Y.
Kevin Furr
200 Creekridge 11a
Albemarle, NC
Tim Adams
114 cypress st
Rochester, ny
Kristen Friedman
25 Indian Rd
New York, NY
Sarah B. Brinklow
16 Victor Lane
Hamlin, New York
Christopher Gallant
440 Washington Ave.
Kenmore, NY
Pamela Good
21 Lake St.
Cooperstown, NY
Sue Weidemann
169 Huntley Rd.
Buffalo, NY
Astrid Jirka
313 Pleasant St.
Ithaca, Choose a State
Elizabeth Hull
1499 Mill Rd
Binghamton, NY
clark rhoades
464 Coounty Highway 40
Worcester, NY
john kabaservice
9 north eckar st
Irvington, ny
victoria bartLETT
148 dean street #2
brooklyn , ny
Elizabeth Aleprt
21 Cobb Terr
Rochester, NY
Daniel Lipari
3991 Rt 228
Alpine, NY
Katherine Cauley
269 Shutter Road
Maryland, NY
Judith Lahn
West 58th Street
New York, NY
Michael Engle
Cayuga Trails Club
973 E. State St.
Ithaca, NY
Kathleen Downes
74 South Knoll Drive
Dryden, New York
Michaela Spiro
74 South Knoll Drive
Dryden, New York
William Herrin
69 Muzzy Road
Ithaca, NY
Willard brooks
34 Linwood Ave
Williamsville, New York
Bennett Brumson
628 Crumtown Road
Spencer, NY
Sarah Adams
4 Falls Street
Trumansburg, NY
Nora Gunneng
916 Stewart Avenue
Ithaca, New York
Diane Cohen
4251 Perry City Road
Trumansburg, New York
Rebecca Barry
PO Box 116
Trumansburg, NY
Margaret DeGaetano
13Meadow DR
Freeville, new york
paul s kaminsky
907 holdridge st
elmira, ny
Phillip Irwin
230 Pecan Rd.
Raleigh, NC
Elizabeth Liccione
2538 Nunnery Rd.
Skaneateles, New York
Les Lewis
1 S. Wheaton Rd
Horseheads, NY
Gwen Moshier
363 Post Creek Road
Beaver Dams, NY
Kathleen O'Donnell
2832 County Hwy 11
Hartwick, NY
Steven Nicols
2832 County Hwy 11
Hartwick, NY
Laurie Hart
243 Cliff St.
Ithaca, NY
Stuart McDougal
916 Stewart Ave.
Ithaca, NY
Jim Landis
1749 E. Campville Rd
Endicott, NY
Jeff Lydon
4401 McIntyre Road
Trumansburg, New York
sierra carrere
rev billy and the church of earthalujah
1067 taughannock blvd
ithaca, ny
Gloria Foster
3906 Chatham Lane
Canandaigua, New York
antonio castello
436 north road
west windsor , ny
'Richard Gilbert
Interfaith Impact of NYS
70 Harper St.
Rochester, NY
Frances LaBarre
216 W. 89th St., Apt. 12A
Mary Loehr
133 Sheffield Rd.
Ithaca, NY
dave gottlieb
135 Coffey st
brooklyn, ny
Hannah Potts
528 W. Buffalo, Apt. #2
Ithaca, NY
Bruce Karhoff
NW Bronx for Change
75 W. 238th St.
Bronx, NY