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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

glenn fleischman
130 gale place 2h
bronx, ny
Regina King
4705 Henry Hudson Parkway
Bronx, NY
Beth Taplitz
407 Hector Street
Ithaca, NY
Erica Naylor
25 Washington St
Trumansburg, NY
Kate Flick
4582 Manhattan College Parkway
Bronx, NY
George McAnanama
5 Avon Road
Binghamton , NY
john ihlo
po box 64, 6 schoolhouse rd
barryville, nY
melissa burress
166 bush lane
ithaca, ny
Bryan Stevenson
4582 Manhattan College Parkway, Apt. 4A
Bronx, NY
Patricia Lamanna
27 Meyer Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY
James Douglas
117 cascadilla st
ithaca, ny
Barbara Kasian
206-4 cypress court
Ithaca, NY
Katherine Higgins, Esq.
232 S. Albany St.
Ithaca, New York
Aaron Lavine
202 E. State St., Ste. 700
Ithaca, NY
Vivian Bergenthal
Sierra Club
85 Wiltshire Road
Scarsdale, New York
Cory anne Sharer
156 bussman rd
Cherry valley, Ny
Loring Mandel
826-D Heritage Hills
Somers, NY
Dan Burgevin
8 McLallen st
Trumansburg, New York
Patricia Buraschi
778 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY
Dr. Michelle Handwerker
50 Shultis Farm Rd.
Bearsville, NY
William Messner
Trout Unlimited
178 Ellis Hill Rd
Arkport, NY
Gray Anderson
Working Families Party
9 Walnut Street
White Plains, New York
Axel Potts
4362 East Covert Rd
Interlaken, New York
Tyler Rittenhouse
635 W Baker St
Costa Mesa, California
Mary Torsello
208 Berry Road
Fredonia, NY
Bartholomew Daly
143 Miles Ave
Syracuse , NY
Lindsay Hoyt
Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited
95 Piney Point Rd.
Boicevil;le, NY
Lynne Thermann
PO Box 193
Claryville, NY
Thomas Wood
New York State Democratic Committee; Progressive Coalition of Northern New York
6035 State Route 22
Plattsburgh, New York
Kathy Lo
396 east 10th st
Ny, Ny
Lorinda Chen
12020 Cove Ct.
College Pt., NY
Nina Miller
15 Spruce Lane
Ithaca, NY
Anne Stork
24 Gilbert Road
Ithaca, NY
Xak Bjerken
Cornell University
407 Columbia St.
Ithaca, NY
Sally McConnell-Ginet
250 Strawberry Hill Circle #3
Ithaca, NY
Sarah Cummings
1106 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Carol Kammen
110 Iroquois Road
Ithaca, NY
Carl Ginet
250 Strawberry Hill Circle #3
Ithaca, NY
nathan richardson
rep studio
519 Willow Ave
ithaca, ny
roseannne demaria
1790 otisco valley road
marietta, ny
Jessie Cornell
214 Cornell Ave.
Endicott, NY
James Rundle
103 Nelson Road
Ithaca, NY
Beth Kelly
105 Halcyon Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Alton Dunn
12 Susquehanna Ave.
Cooperstown, NY
Tim Reppert
110 N. Cayuga St
Ithaca, NY
Heather Sensabaugh
450 Cedar Drive
Cortland, OH
Anthony Loughran
Coxsackie-Athens Environmental science class
1831 sleepy hollow rd
Athens, New York
Brian Dozoretz
308 Lake Ave
Ithaca, NY
Jacquelyn Lew
69 Rumson Rd
Rochester, NY
jean burns
413 West Court Street
ithaca, nY
suzy Winkler
174 Pickens Road
Burlington Flats, NY
Ann Smock
1734 Carleton St.
Berkeley, CA
Paul Sternberger
133 West 17th Street, PHD
New York, NY
Jane Segelken
114 Texas Lane
Ithaca, NY
Ames Adamson
16 E. Johnson St. #10
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Peter Cramer
245 East 2nd St. #6
New York, NY
Melissa Stucky
303 Eastwood Ave.
Ithaca, NY
Kenneth Fung
115 Monroe St.
Ithaca, NY
Geoffrey Smith
33 Hanover Drive
Delmar, NY
sera smolen
Ithaca Waldorf School
210 North Corn St
Ithaca , NY
Adrienne Sosin
100 Beekman St.#23D
New York, NY
Nina wish
112 highmount ave
nayck, ny
Christine Carreiro
111 N. Quarry St.
Ithaca, NY
Megan DeHaas
26 Lake St.
Dryden, NY
Alfred Ronzoni
31-18 Crescent St. Apt 6D
Long Island City, NY
linda van alstine
Haiku, HI
Kristen Park
33 Keith Lane
Dryden, NY
Timothy Clark
140 Pine Tree Rd.
Ithaca, New York
carla weisberg
47 west 12th street, No. 2
New York, NY
Craig Cummings
1106 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Byrnes
230 Lakeshore Blvd
Rochester, New York
Elisabeth Prentice
102 Irving Place
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Rogers
309 Horseshoe Lane
Vestal, NY
Jeri Sabo
1204 Lake Como Rd.
Cortland, New York
Danielle Solomon
101 Church St
Pleasantville, NY
JoAnne Race
2075 State Route 80
Georgetown, NY
Rachelle Beames
606 county rd 26
Nineveh, New York
Marie Koko
7300 Old Sauk Rd
Madison, WI
Hilton Baxter
37 Lincoln Avenue
Binghamton, NY
Jessica Kat
380 Morris Street
Alany, NY
Elisa Chrzan
23 Corbett Avenue
Binghamton, NY
Emily Hagenbruch
83 Bennet Ave.
----, NY
Brian Hagenbruch
83 Bennett Ave.
----, NY
Linda Dortin
20 Light Rd.
Brooktondale, NY
Alex Fiato
78 Rotary Ave.
----, NY
Richard McGrew
9 Hickory Rd.
Binghamton, NY
Bruce Smith
52 Banks Ave.
----, NY
Rory Tobias
285 Burbank Ave.
----, NY
Carolyn Larrabee
1222 Day Hollow Rd.
Endicott, NY
Debra DeLorenzo
74 Irish Hill Rd.
Newfield, NY
Patrick Strain
2 Lincoln Ave.
Binghamton, NY
Bailey Tyburczy
602 2nd St.
Athens, PA
Cheryl Sullivan
1452 Oakdale Road
Johnson City, NY
Stephanie Hodom
P.O. Box 301
Oswego, NY
Thomas Woodard
23 Rob-- Ave.
Endicott, NY
Steven Peck
95-1/2 Leroy St.
Binghamton, NY
Ralph McGrew
9 Hickory Rd.
Binghamton, NY
Rhea Holmes
13 Mill St.
Binghamton, NY
Carolyn Holmes
13 Mill St.
Binghamton, NY
Harry Henderson
285 Burbank Ave.
----, NY
Rita DiRado
3281 Jackson Rd.
Binghamton, NY
Mickey DiRado
29 Belden St.
Binghamton, NY
Michael Bateman
52 Dalrymple
Elmira, NY
Dena Aycak
52 Dalrymple
Elmira, NY
Mary Bado
P.O. Box 305
Owego, NY
Stephen Carpineta
6 Tudor Dr.
Endicott, NY
Nancy Salomon
429 10th Street
Brooklkyn, ny
William Keefe
766 Pennsylvania Ave.
----, NY
Francie Keefe
1179 Robinsons Hill Rd.
----, NY
Rochelle Goldberg
821 Lehigh Ave.
Vestal, NY
Thomas Rury
6 College St.
Binghamton, NY
Jason Patrick
2726 Country Club Rd.
Endwell, NY
Yamoi Phan
SUNY Binghamton
134 Chapin St.
Binghamton, NY
Frank Schlee
Owego, NY
Margaret Bakalar
84 Deyo Hill Rd.
Johnson City, NY
Ben Stranuzzi
13 Riley Hill Rd.
Windsor, NY
Patrick Cortese
20 Jason Dr.
Binghamton, NY
John Fay
1 Edgewood Rd.
Binghamton, NY
Suzann Fay
1 Edgewood Rd.
Binghamton, NY
Seth Walker
7 Fox St.
Owego, NY