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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

Meg Hildebrand
242 North Ave.
Owego, NY
Donna Gilligan
36 Adaline St.
Owego, NY
Rick White
----, NY
C Anthony
Green Party
1160 North Davenport Hill Rd.
----, NY
Andrew Thomas
15 Temple St.
Owego, NY
Toivo Pasto
285 Front St.
Owego, NY
Laura Bagdale
155 Forest Hill Rd.
Apalachin, NY
Jimmy Knapp
106 Crescent Dr.
Kirkwood, NY
Rhonda Knapp
106 Crescent Dr.
Kirkwood, NY
Jan McCauley
2702 Robins St.
Endwell, NY
Rolf Quam
3-1/2 Vincent St.
Binghamton, NY
Terry Crechen
50 Sunrise Dr.
Binghamton, NY
Jeremy Latimer
20 Wilson St.
Binghamton, NY
Mary Bowers
525 Leon Dr.
Endicott, NY
D Brooks
305 African Rd.
Vestal, NY
Fred Brooks
305 African Rd.
Vestal, NY
J Schmidt
316 S. Seward Ave.
----, NY
Thomas Schmidt
316 S. Seward Ave.
----, NY
Tom Casella
4015 Bonnie Banks Rd.
Seneca Falls, NY
Bonnie Crosby
1215 Owasco Rd.
Auburn, NY
Josh Ferrara
23 Pleasant St.
----, NY
Cynthia Aikman
Cayuga County Legislature
17 Liberty St.
-----, NY
Mark Kuney
228 Milburn Dr.
Syracuse, NY
Margaret Creamer
Otisco Lake Preservation
4438 Swissvale Rd.
----, NY
Susan Raiti
Brogan Manor
Auburn, NY
Elizabeth Alexander
5201 St. Rte 38A
Auburn, NY
Gabriel Kehn
228 Reese Ave.
----, NY
Rachel Jaffe
34 Albany Ave.
Johnson City, NY
Charles Larrabee
29 Sunset Dr.
Binghamton, NY
Dr. T. M. Lovesky
P.O. Box 47
Tully, NY
Joanne Terwilliger
27 Matthews St.
Binghamton, NY
Kelley Mandl
57 Schubert St.
----, NY
Rosie Newton
P.O. Box 67
----, NY
Rebecca Gelunas
417 Fernwood
Johnson City, NY
Sue Paredez
52 Lincoln Ave.
Binghamton, NY
J Paredez
52 Lincoln Ave.
Binghamton, NY
Lisa Castetter
68 Davis St.
Binghamton, NY
Susan Stievater
67 Olney Drive
Amherst, New York
Galena Duba
101 Camp Street
Jamestown, NY
Janet Bruno
737 Roods Creek Rd
Hancock, New York
Patricia Stoiko
19 Washington St.
Trumansburg, N.Y.
Amanda Poodiack
BCC - Ecology Club
----, NY
Corey Robinson
1501 Valley Rd.
Vestal, NY
Stephanie Martin
Beethoven St.
Binghamton, NY
Tisha Eckhardt
----, NY
Alyssa Graham
481 Hamilton Valley Rd.
----, NY
Chelsea Graham
P.O. Box 22
----, NY
Michelle Vanostrand
35 St. John Ave.
----, NY
john gurche
19 Washington St.
trumansburg, N.Y.
Desiree DePersus
1 S. Willis Ave.
----, NY
Eileen Snyder
1103 Jade Dr.
Endwell, NY
Cheryl Crispell
17 Webster Ct.
Binghamton, NY
Elliot Jagniecki
Binghamton, NY
Diane Roach
105 Mitchell St.
Endicott, NY
R Taylor
1355 Upper Front St.
Binghamton, NY
Ethan Roach
105 Mitchell St.
Endicott, NY
Abby Pontero
90 Hawkins Hill Rd.
Port Crane, NY
Maggie Deyo
47 Webster St.
----, NY
Meigo Kao
38 Crocker Ave.
Johnson City, NY
Alexa Heder
----, NY
Ingrid Husisian
501 Pinewood Cir.
Elmira, NY
Sarah Forrest
16 hamilton ave
auburn, ny
Sam Warren
Cortland, NY
Edwin Przybylowicz
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
1219 Crown Point Dr.
Webster, NY
Ruth Hardinger
20 N Moore St
New York, NY
Richard Averett
231 Somborn Rd.
Otego, NY
Kirsten Kurtz
P.O. Box 457
Trumansburg, NY
Jean Biddle
Carriage House 29 Tompkins St
Cortland, NY
manuela amzallag
205 Haller Blvd
Ithaca, NY
christopher green
po box 402
millbrook, ny
Karla Fisk
101 Cooper St., #5N
New York, --
Laurel Davis
235 Elm st. (formerly of 100 Riverside Dr. 10024)
Denver, co
Nancy Cornwell
395 Ringwood Rd.
Freeville, NY
katherine balis
p.o. box402
millbrook, ny
T Levis
565 West End Ave
New York, NY
J Todd Hutchinson
6490 Waterburg Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Frederick Bauman
106 Rupp Rd
Monticello, NY
Rachel Fives
126 Turkey Hill Road
Ithaca, NY
Rebecca Leistikow
JDL Search Partners
215 Miller Road
Newfield, NY
Karen Jacobsen
3414 Rte. 150 PO Box 259
East Schodack, NY
Deborah Kinney
751 Wolf Hill Road
Hillsdale, New York
Martin Davidson
Box 855
Claverack, New York
David Bornstein
5800 Arlington Ave 9T
Bronx, NY
William Bullard
376 Carpenter Road
Ghent, NY
Roseann Cane
PO Box 103
Philmont, NY
peter guernsey
seaman ave
new york, new york
Susan Beeners
20 Bald Hill Road
Spencer, NY
Rosemarie Stepanik
13 Fiora Drive
Fairport, NY
Ian Nitschke
PO Box 360
Claverack, NY
karl wokan
1952 glenwood rd.
vestal, new york
Rhonda Granger
47 Broad Street
Kinderhook, NY
Cindy Knope
46 Short Hills Dr.
Hilton, NY
Harry DeLano
807 Bird Ave.
Buffalo, NY
Victoria Romanoff
4 Falls Street
Trumansburg, NY
Durga Bor
7580 Willow Creek Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
David Lawton
3834 Thomas Road
Cazenovia, New York
William Kennedy
Concerned Citizens of Allegany County,
11414 Lapp Rd
Fillmore, NY
Theodore Burger
3370 Woodbridge Cir.
Bethlehem, PA
joel Simonetti
1874 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Raviva Hanser
885 St. Johns Place
Brooklyn, NY
Kim Knight
119 Westhaven Rd
Ithaca, NY
Gerald Byrd
4211 Court Royal, 8
Schenectady, NY
Rebecca Nyahay
255 West 43rd St.
New York, NY
Radio Station
Brooklyn, New York
Vanessa Bley
83 Alden Street
Cherry Valley, NY
Mark Hanlon
po box 172
cooperstown, NY
Angelica Palmer
Action Otsego
PO Box 112
Hartwick, NY
Chester Dean
320 Roebling St
Brooklyn, NY
Maxine Krulwich
45 W. 60th St.
New York, New York
Virginia Spriggs
15 Triphammer Terrace
Ithaca, NY
Bill Dubilier
Woodstock Environmental commission
po box 123
lake hill, NY
Carol Manuel
95 Ridgemont Drive
Rochester, NY
Frank Rowland
411 North Way
Newfield, NY
Catherine Smith
41 Morningside Dr.
Cortland, NY
James Ayers
759 Samsonville Road
Kerhonkson, NY
Robert Lucy
2538 Nunnery Rd
Skaneateles, New York
Patricia Hutchinson-Day
14 Columbia Ave.
Binghamton, New York
Jeffrey Rosencrans
10 Onondaga Drive
Wappingers Falls, New York
ellen harris
sierra club
7037 suzanne lane
schenectady, ny