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Concerns Regarding Section 401 Water Quality Certification Applications and New York's Inadequate High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Prohibition

Subject: Concerns Regarding Section 401 Water Quality Certification Applications and New York's Inadequate High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Prohibition
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2016 16:51:17 -0500
From: Walter Hang
To: EngleS@assembly.state.ny.us, abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us, ButlerM@assembly.state.ny.us, ColtonW@assembly.state.ny.us, CorwinJ@assembly.state.ny.us, CrespoM@assembly.state.ny.us, CymbroS@assembly.state.ny.us, FahyP@assembly.state.ny.us, GarbarinoA@assembly.state.ny.us, GlickD@assembly.state.ny.us, GuntheA@assembly.state.ny.us, JaffeeE@assembly.state.ny.us, kaminskyt@assembly.state.ny.us, KavanaghB@assembly.state.ny.us, liftonb@assembly.state.ny.us, LopezP@assembly.state.ny.us, LupardoD@assembly.state.ny.us, OdonnellD@assembly.state.ny.us, OtisS@assembly.state.ny.us, palumboa@assembly.state.ny.us, PeopleC@assembly.state.ny.us, RaiaA@assembly.state.ny.us, RozicN@assembly.state.ny.us, RyanS@assembly.state.ny.us, SaladiJ@assembly.state.ny.us, SchimelM@assembly.state.ny.us, StecD@assembly.state.ny.us, ThieleF@assembly.state.ny.us, TitoneM@assembly.state.ny.us, ZebrowskiK@assembly.state.ny.us

To: Honorable Chairman Englebright and Members of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee

Greetings:

The New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee has played a crucial role in determining New York's High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing and pollution prevention policies. That is why I write respectfully today to bring two important related concerns to your attention.

Coalition Letter Requests That DEC Deny Section 401 Water Quality Certification Applications For Proposed Pipeline and Infrastructure Projects

Various natural gas/oil pipeline and infrastructure projects proposed in New York have received conditional approval from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), but have not proceeded to construction because the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has yet to provide requisite Section 401 Water Quality Certifications.

By DEC's own admission, those water quality certifications can only be granted when the agency determines that the proposed project will not violate water quality standards.

I provide for your review a compilation of 114 pipeline explosions, fires, ruptures and toxic discharges documented with DEC's own data. As you will see, many of these massive uncontrolled releases were never cleaned up to state environmental protection standards.

See: Natural Gas, Crude Oil and Petroleum Product Pipeline Fires, Explosions, Accidents, Ruptures and Spills

See Map

I also provide two self-explanatory letters to Governor Cuomo which request that he require DEC to deny all pending Section 401 Water Quality Certification applications because the agency clearly cannot fulfill the onerous applicable requirements of the U. S. Clean Water Act.

See: Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Cuomo Deny All Section 401 Water Quality Certification Applications

1/11/16 Letter to Governor Cuomo Regarding Constitution Pipeline Company's Request to FERC for authorization to begin "tree-felling activities"

Section 401 Certification

New York's Inadequate High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Prohibition

On 12/17/14 Governor Cuomo promised New Yorkers that he would prohibit High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in our state after a seven-year debate led by members of your committee. Unfortunately, his administration's prohibition is limited to "300,000 or more gallons of water."

As a result, the prohibition excludes "waterless" fracking methods that DEC determined were unsafe, including "gelled" propane proposed for Barton, NY as well as carbon dioxide and nitrogen foam. The prohibition is also poorly drafted and must be clarified because it is not clear how the 300,000 gallons of water limit would be determined.

I provide two letters which request that Governor Cuomo 1) prohibit "gelled" propane fracking pending an environmental impact assessment pursuant to SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) and 2) issue a "Supplemental" Findings Statement to prohibit all forms of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing by clarifying the prohibition definition.

See: Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Cuomo Prohibit the Use of Gelled Propane, LPG and All Other "'Environmentally Friendly' or 'Green' Alternatives" Shale Fracking Methods Pending SEQR Review

Coalition Letter requests that NYSDEC issue a Supplemental Findings Statement to prohibit all types of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

As you will see, New York City Community Board One recently adopted a resolution supporting these actions: Community Board #1 Resolution - 12/17/2015

Conclusion

Each and every one of the members of the Assembly Environmental Conservation committee has toxic pollution plumes and contaminated sites in their districts that New York State environmental authorities have failed to investigate and clean up, including some of the pipeline concerns I am bringing to your attention.

I believe it is imperative that New York take rigorous action to prevent pipeline and shale fracking pollution hazards in our state by enforcing all environmental safeguards and adopting new protections where warranted. I write today with that goal in mind.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions that I might be able to answer.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very best regards,

Walter Hang
215 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850