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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

Marguerite Ferro-COTTEN
Binghamton, NY
Matthew Card
96 Grand Blvd
Binghamton, NY
Christopher Errante
39 Union st.
Johnson City, NY
Kathryn Errante
39 Union St
Johnson City, New York
Shayna Andrews
118 Rexford Falls Rd
Sherburne, NY
Timothy DeMulder
199 Partridge Run
Unadilla, NY
Michael Tingey
639 Jones Road
Vestal, NY
Abby Mann
Toxic Targeting
80 Jackson Hollow Road
Newfield, NY
William Errante
39 Union St
Johnson City, New York
David Race
413 oquaga lake rd
Deposit, Ny
Kim Bosket
39 Union St
Johnson City, Ny
James McConkey
402 Aiken Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Cris McConkey
402 Aiken Road
Trumansburg, NY
Mary Hill Gilbert Harris
141 Marion Avenue
Gilbertsville, NY
Arnold Gore
Consumers Health Freedom coalition
720 fort Washington Ave
New York, NY
Anthony Ouckama
6649 Waterburg Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Martha Birkett
950 Searles Hill Road
Bainbridge, NY
Rena Dangerfield
2007 State Highway 7
Bainbridge, NY
Miranda Phillips
Sustainable Tompkins
402 Utica St.
Ithaca , NY
Dahlia Goldenberg
367 Sterling Pl
Brooklyn, NY
Robert Kadish
185 Hall Street Apt. 1618
Brooklyn, NY
Joyce Goldenberg
104-20 Queens Blvd. 5C
Forest Hills, New York
Shira Epstein
250 W. 85th St.
New York, NY
Robert Kleinberg
402 Utica St.
Ithaca, NY
Sean Zigmund
Mineral Springs Permaculture Farm
64 Mineral Springs Rd.
Livingston manor, NY
lynn podhaski
708 mitchell st.
ithaca, ny
Kathleen Cooke
5539 Lisle Road
Owego, NY
Alice Fulton
82 Burdick Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Sondra Lazarowitz
Cornell University
3 Bean Hill Lane
Ithaca, NY
Lou Anne Simons
26 Center Street
Homer, NY
Dena wechter
245 East 19 St
J. R. Ratcliff
207 Willow Ave
Ithaca, NY
Cara Benson
1149 Best Road
East Greenbush, NY
merritt edwards
4447 commissary rd
nedrow, nY
Sonja Kunath
216 Lynhurst Ave
Horseheads, NY
Eliza Sherpa
45 Bald Hill School Rd.
Brooktondale, NY
Lauren Clapp
4539 Campus Box
Elon, NC
Kristiina Heptig
1517 Mecklenburg Rd
Ithaca, NY
Paul Closs
42 Abbott LN
ithaca, New York
Walter Barber
Skidmore College
85 Old North Stamford Road
Stamford , CT
Anna Joyce
204 Utica St
Ithaca, New York
Jorge Cuevas
721 Five Mile Drive
Ithaca, NY
Mustafa Chaudry
Mailbox # 320, 815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, New York
Joseph Amsili
Youth Farm Project
409 hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NEW YORK
Frances Wertimer
800 Riverside Drive
New York, NY
Sasha Brown
2291 Perry City rd.
Ithaca, NY
Hillary Hersh
50 Duffield Drive
South Orange, New Jersey
Callie James
2729 Cleinview Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Joan McKiernan
10 Deer Lake Road
Windsor, NY
Nancy Fisher
1027 grant ave
Pelham, Ny
Ian VanNest
63 Hickory Drive
Basking Ridge, NJ
Jonathan Anderson
35 hazelwood lane
Stamford, CT
Sarah Minney
815 N Broadway
Rebecca Gonzalez
815 N. Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY
Sarah Dinkelacker
32 lehigh court
rockville centre, ny
Kevin DeMunn
81 Atlantic st Unit #8
Stamford, CT
L. Thompson
1436 Worchester Dr.
Eagan, Minnesota
Lilly Israel
545 W 111 st #5E
New York, NY
Marguerite Griesmer
84 Glen Ridge Rd.
Dedham, MA
Mrs Mander
---, NY
Rochelle Kingsbauer
32 Gridleyville Road
Spencer, NY
Matt marchall
32 Gridleyville Road
Spencer, NY
joseph honis
4271 henderson place
syracuse, new york
Michael Suchorsky
Cow Wordly Cards
168 Shaver Hill Rd.
Andes, NY
David Pangburn
2 Sanger Ave.
New Hartford, NY
James Haustein
555 Van Kirk Road
Newfield, NY
Betty Anderson
285 conklin fks rd.
conklin, New York
Craig Adams
1200 Hinging Post Road
Ithaca, NY
Patrice VanSlyke
318 Farnham Road
Windsor, NY
Carolyn Kreisel
4348 Swamp College Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Joel Shapiro
119 Schilling Ln
Rochester, New York
Ashley Bruno
Mohawk Wolf Clan
3 Railroad St Apt 1
Little Falls, New York
Marilyn Wertman
3 Paxton Lane
Candor, NY
Linda Johnson
63 Crary Ave
Binghamton, NY
Amy Kimmel
20 Juniper Street
Lockport, New York
elizabeth salon
Tioga County Health Department
251 Culver Rd.
ithaca, nY
A Kustritz
200 East Ave. #1306
Rochester, NY
Zoe DeVito
7 Camore St
Stamford, CT
craig buckbee
174 Pickens Road
burlington flats, ny
Aviva Gorig
St Luke's Hospital
80 N. Moore ST
New York City, NY
risha gorig
114 king street
brooklyn, ny
Erik Steiner
80 N. Moore St.
New York, NY
Nadja Steiner
80 North Moore street
New York, New York
Andrew Moore
48 Cemetery St
Trumansburg, NY
Bryan Bramlet
226 Castleman Rd.
Rochester, N.Y.
Fay Gougakis
171 East State Street
Ithaca, NY
Donald Austin
Ithaca College
136 Hawthorne Pl
Ithaca, NY
MaryAn Scandurra
3642 Timber Ridge Lake Road
Liberty, NC
Stephen Sutton
514 Axtell RD
Maryland, NY
Lorraine Heasley
1247 Bell Drive
Cortland, New York
Dennis Delaney
348 Armstrong Ave
Staten Island, New York
ventry drive
dublin, IRELAND
Ardean Miller
Burlingame Rd
Cazenovia, New York
27 Bradley St
trumansburg, NY
Johanna Tiemann
685 West End Avenue #15A
new york, NY
Kathleen Skiendzielewski
25 Tudor city place
New york, Ny
Sarah Palin
1140 W Parks Hwy
Wasilla, AK
Cassandra Kirk
13840 Knob Hill Dr
Eagle River, AK
Janeille Franzenburg
209 Landon Rd
Ithaca, NY
Linda MacNeill
295 Ocean parkway
Brooklyn, New York
Paul Bermanzohn, MD
Sierra Club
61 Mountain Road
Rosendale, NY
elizabeth chiron
county route 28
watkins glen, ny
Michael Kaminsky
421 Degraw Street, #1K
Brooklyn, NY
Stan Seltzer
5214 Jacksonville Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Sheryl Collins
Sierra Club
1002 County Line Rd.
Schenectady, New York
Rebecca Ribeiro
39 Bishop Rd
Newfield, NY
Howard Zoubek
Matthew Calvey
Mahopac, NY
Carlos Menacho
3956 Burlingame Road
Cazenovia, NY
Ines Bloise
1408 Webster Avenue
Bronx, NY
Jen George
PO Box 1551
Pleasant Valley, NY
Doug Ouimette
1252 Colesville Rd
Binghamton, New York
Richard Ireland
31 Payne St
Hamilton, New York
David Warshawsky
196 E. 75th st., apt. 7-B
New York, New York
Cullen Horne
760 Jay Street
Elmira, NY
Kendrick Pangman
Question Everything
4 Orange St.
Not listed, New York
Jackie VandenBerg
316 Brooklea Drive
Not listed, NY
Thomas Hunenick
603 David Drive
Syracuse, New York
nancy marinelli
147-34 18 ave
whitestone, ny