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Jason Weinstein

Activists call for Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Ban in NY

A number of environmental activists and 22 members of the State Legislature are calling on Governor Cuomo to prohibit permits for new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Activist Takes Aim at Gel Propane Fracking

An anti-fracking activist says he will continue to pressure Governor Cuomo to explicitly ban another form of the drilling practice.

Hundreds Rally For Constitution Pipeline

The battle over the Constitution Pipeline continues. This afternoon hundreds rallied in favor of the project in downtown Binghamton.

Both Sides of Constitution Pipeline Debate Seek Action Before Deadline

Proponents of the Constitution Pipeline are calling on New York State to give it's final approval to the project before it's too late.

Should Cuomo Halt Constitution Pipeline?

On the heels of a state Comptroller report that says New York has fallen short in it's oversight of pipelines, one person is asking Governor Cuomo halt the Constitution Pipeline project.

Battle over Pipelines as State Certification Looms

One of the main opponents of fracking is now setting his sights on proposed pipeline projects in New York.

Fracking Protesters Send Message to Governor

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Governor Cuomo stayed silent on the issue of fracking during his State of the State Address today. Judging by the crowd in the halls leading to Cuomo's speech, he was one of the few who did.

"I've worked here for 35 years. I've never seen this kind of demonstration. It is an unmistakable message to the Governor - 'Don't go forward with fracking,'" said Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting.

"$500 million or more has been spend on the GEISs (Generic Environmental Impact Statements). It's time to move forward," said landowner Vic Furman of Chenango Forks.

With public comment on the state's Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement ending Friday, anti-fracking activists pushed their message on one of the highest-profile days of the state's political calendar.

"Governor Cuomo, that is shameful. Your state scientists and health professionals are calling on you. Enough with the improvisational, ad hoc, made-up studies that serve to justify a public health atrocity," said author and ecologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber.

Is Public Comment Period End of Fracking Review?

The 30-day public comment period which began today is part of the 90-day extension the state DEC is using to finish it's fracking review. That 90-day period ends February 27th - a date pro-gas supporters say will be the finish line in the battle to bring fracking to New York.

"For many this means the process of implementing regulations to proceed with the SGEIS and drilling in New York is almost done," said Scott Kurkowski, attorney for the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.

Not surprisingly, those in favor of keeping the moratorium on fracking disagree.

"That's wishful thinking on a level that's unsupported by the facts," said Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting.

Hang says three things have to happen for the state's fracking review to end: it needs to finish it's health review, complete the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, and complete the rule making for fracking.

"So it's an extraordinarily challenging scenario where all three of those bureaucratic hurdles would be surmounted," said Hang.

Many groups question health review & fracking delay

With word that the state's health review of hydrofracking will force it to miss a November 29th deadline that opens the door for more public comment and potentially longer delays in gas-drilling regulations, pro-fracking interests are - not surprisingly - upset.

"It was never necessary for the DEC to go back to the drawing board. I think what we're seeing is a lot of claims and fear mongering that is turning out not to be true," said Jim Smith, spokesperson for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York.

But anti-fracking activists are upset as well. Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting has led the charge to keep the state's moratorium on fracking in place. But he says because the review is limited to the DEC's own report instead of a comprehensive review of fracking's health and environmental impact.

"It fundamentally fails to address the critical questions: What's the broad spectrum of toxic pollutants associated with fracking. What happens to those pollutants when they're released into the environment?" asks Hang.

EPA Weighs in on New York Fracking Plan

"For some of the regulatory programs like if you were dumping gas drilling wastewater into a local municipal treatment plant, EPA is the principal authority," said Walter Hang, President of Toxics Targeting.

And Hang says the EPA has submitted almost twice as many comments as it did for the first SGEIS draft in 2009.

"The main concerns were failure to come up with a way to deal with this incredibly toxic wastewater, failure to protect drinking water, failure to protect radiologic hazards for both the worker and environment."


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