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Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Cuomo Prohibit Issuance of State Permits/Authorizations for Salt Mining Under Cayuga Lake and Require a Transition to Salt Mining Only Under Dry Land

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Re: Request That You Prohibit State Permits/Authorizations for Salt Mining Under Cayuga Lake and Require a Transition to Salt Mining Only Under Dry Land

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We, the undersigned, write to request that you deny a Cargill Mine Shaft #4 permit application under consideration by your Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in order to safeguard Cayuga Lake from potential catastrophic salt mine failures similar to the 1994 collapse of the nation's biggest salt mine in Retsof, NY.

Given the inability of DEC's Division of Mineral Resources to prevent or remediate numerous documented salt mining disasters across New York, we request that you adopt a prohibition on issuing new permits, approvals or authorizations that would directly or indirectly lead to salt mining activities under Cayuga Lake.

We also request that you implement a proposal voiced by DEC to require Cargill to transition to salt mining only under dry land.

Retsof Mine Disaster

The Retsof mine failure was likely the worst salt mining catastrophe in the history of New York. Massive sink holes and land subsidence occurred. Property damage was extensive. The mine flooded and impacted water wells used by local residents. The consequences of this mine failure will be felt for centuries to come.

We write today because serious concerns have been raised about parallels between the Retsof mine and the immense Cargill salt mine located under Cayuga Lake. One key question is whether relatively new "small pillar" mining techniques used at the two mines could be insufficient to resist powerful geologic forces associated with filled-in glacial valley formations at both locations.

See map: Cargill Cayuga Mine

Professor Richard Young Technical Presentation

Provided for your review are technical presentations made to DEC by Richard A. Young, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Geological Sciences Department at SUNY Geneseo and a geological consultant for the Office of the New York State Attorney General regarding the Retsof mine collapse.

See: Professor Richard Young Cayuga Mine Presentations and References

Professor Young's technical presentations raise profound questions about the wisdom of allowing future salt mining under Cayuga Lake. In the event of a mining disaster at the Cargill Mine similar to the Retsof collapse, the pollution impacts on Cayuga Lake could be unprecedented and irreversible.

Request for Urgent Regulatory Action

We request that you require DEC to deny the Shaft #4 permit application based on the new geologic information presented to DEC by Professor Young as well as numerous other experts in the field.

We also request that you require DEC to implement a policy to require Cargill to phase out its salt mining activities under Cayuga Lake and to allow salt mining only under more geologically stable dry lands surrounding the lake. There must be no connection between new mining areas and the existing Cargill mine under the lake.

This sensible plan could preserve the economic benefits of local salt mining while safeguarding Cayuga Lake from potentially catastrophic mining hazards. More than 30,000 residents drink water supplied from this lake. It is an incomparable jewel as well as a critical component of the regional economy.

The logic of this policy is irrefutable because it is our understanding that Mr. Matthew J. Podniesinski, Director, Bureau of Resource Development & Reclamation, Division of Mineral Resources, recently stated that he had communicated to Cargill officials that the firm should begin making arrangements with local property owners to mine under dry land around Cayuga Lake instead of directly underneath the lake.

This proposed policy should be mandatory because DEC has documented widespread salt mining concerns across Upstate New York, including massive landslides, ground subsidence and environmental pollution hazards.


Our Request Echoes a Letter from NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair, Steven Englebright

As you will see, our letter echoes concerns and requests expressed in a letter sent to DEC Commissioner, Basil Seggos, by NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair, Steven Englebright.

See: New York State Assembly Members Lifton and Englebright Request Moratorium for Cargill Shaft #4 permit and Authorizations for Salt Mining Under Cayuga Lake

Once-In-A-Generation Opportunity to Safeguard Cayuga Lake

You have a once-in-a generation opportunity to safeguard Cayuga Lake from potential mining disaster. Due to federal mine safety requirements, Shaft #4 is needed to expand the Cargill mine. If the Shaft #4 permit is not granted, salt mining under the lake could be phased out in orderly fashion over perhaps as long as a decade in order to transition to mining under dry land surrounding the lake.

"Incalculable Value of Cayuga Lake"

DEC Commissioner Seggos recently wrote that he shares public concerns about the "incalculable value of Cayuga Lake." He added, "Whether we are discussing the Lake's pristine beauty, its economic importance, or its environmental significance, everyone at DEC understands that our mission is to protect these natural resources."

We underscore that your administration bears sole responsibility for deciding the Shaft #4 permit application as well as granting mineral rights underneath Cayuga Lake. We trust that your final decision will fully protect this incomparable lake.

In conclusion, you received well-deserved nationwide praise when you demonstrated great wisdom by prohibiting high-volume hydrofracking in New York. We request that you apply the same level of precaution to protecting Cayuga Lake from potentially devastating salt mining hazards.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very best regards,

Total Signatory Count: 1144

Richard Young
31 Stuyvesant Manor
Geneseo, NY
Terry Cuddy
133 S. Hoopes Ave.
Auburn, NY
Rachel Treichler
7988 Van Amburg Road
Hammondsport, NY
James Little
647 Cafferty Hill Rd
Endicott, NY
Gloria Foster
Retired School Social Worker
3906 Chatham Ln
Canandaigua, NY
KC Ellis
National Writers Union UAW Local 1981
2130 Long Creek Rd
Apalachin , New York
elizabeth path
25 elm ave
homer, ny
Jane Beller
4 Munson Street
Croton on Hudson, New York
Wendy Graham
35 Patricia Street
Binghamton, NY
John Lynch
Consultant Planner
John J Lynch AICP
333 Pearl Street
New York, NY
Stephanie Low
Stephanie Loew Artists Inc
1215 5 Ave
Alice Saltonstall
409 Hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Mary Day
8502 State Route 89
Interlaken, New York
shirley tripp
204 first st.
ithaca, ny
Karen Stamm
366 Broadway, 11B
New York, New York
George Stadnik
2466 44th Street
Astoria, NY
Gregory Subtelny
Marcellus Shale
9211 Hatch Rd
Trumansburg, New York
Wendy Rogers
Fenton Residents Against Compressor Station
6169 State Route 79
Chenango Forks, NY
William Sharfman
50 Riverside Drive
New York, NY
Mary Kaszyca
111 Tamarack Lane
Trumansburg, NY
Robert Jetty
457 Lansing Station Road
Lansing, NY
Sheila Out
247 Valley Rd
Ithaca, NY
Jackie Jablonski
115 Northview Rd
Ithaca, NY - New York
Mara Alper
Ithaca, NY
Rob Mackenzie
6252 Bower Rd
Trumansburg, NY
James Gossett
655 Lansing Station Road
Lansing, NY
Beth Olearczyk MD
87 Pioneer Street
Cooperstown, New York
Ronald Lytel
87 Pioneer Street
Cooperstown, New York
Laurie Goodhart
Box 545
Cambridge, Ny
Marlaine Darfler
18 Elderado Drive
Trumansburg, NY
David Schwartz
1190 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY
Deborah Jones
Community Science Institute, Board Member
3166 Perry City Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Carol Chock
Tompkins County Legislature
39 Woodcrest Avenue
Ithaca, NY
Anna Kelles
County Legislator
Tompkins County
139 Linn St.
Ithaca, NY
Susan Ahrayna Zakos
525 S. Albany St
Ithaca, New York
Patricia Alfonso
3 franklin ave apt 4h
White plains , New york
Martha Kinney
5043 frontenac rd
Trumansburg , NY
Eric Banford
401 E Miller Rd
Ithaca, NY
Jennifer Sullivan
ithaca, ny
Marie Vitucci
191 seven mile dr
Ithaca, Ny
Leslie Schultz
312 Second Street
Ithaca, NY
Cayuga lake water protectors
171 Boylan rd
Newfield , NY
Julia Parete
6111 Sirrine Rd
Trumansburg , NY
Rodolfo Nunez
117b e York St
Ithaca, NY
Kevin Kinsella
107 Hickory Place
Ithaca , NY
Michelle Csonka
226 Pleasant St
Ithaca , NY
Erin A
Research Scientist
425 Hillview
Ithaca, NY
1356 slaterville road
ithaca, NY
james shaw
1356 slaterville road
ithaca, NY
Anthony Vaughan
1481 County Road 132
Ovid, New York