12/24/12

Merry Fracking Christmas from the Cuomo Administration

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) chose the holiday season to publish its draft regulations governing the highly-controversial hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking or fracking) gas drilling process. 

The 30 day review and public comment period lasts only until January 11, 2013.

This may be the last chance we will have to respond to the proposed DEC regulations.

Unless there is an overwhelming public response in the form of public comments, the DEC could put fracking regulations in place by spring, 2013.

Catskill Mountainkeeper and a coalition of environmental and public health advocacy organizations have issued an urgent call to activists across the state to submit public comments to the DEC detailing why the proposed regulations are still inadequate.

These are some of the holes in the proposed regs:
  • Minimal setbacks from fracked wells -- the DEC pulled 500 feet out of the air without any scientific basis -- would put families, children and livestock at risk.  Studies from fracking-ravaged Colorado have shown severe health effects to people and livestock living up to a half a mile away from drilling rigs.
  • The regs ignore the disposal of toxic, possibly radioactive, wastewater. Because the Bush administration got fracking exempted from federal environmental laws, the drilling industry can put fracking wastewater, laced with benzene, biocides and radiation, in municipal landfills or local sewage treatment plants, just like ordinary waste.
  • While fracking would not be permitted on top of state lands, there is nothing to stop the drilling industry from fracking all around and under state-owned lands or under our lakes, streams and rivers. Horizontal drills reach as far as a mile underground.
  • Drilling companies can hide the names of the chemicals in fracking fluid from the public and from the medical profession.  Public health experts can't predict the health consequences of exposure to fracking chemicals they can't identify. Without public disclosure, there can be no informed consent to the health risks posed by fracking fluids.
  • The DEC, in its rush to push out regulations, waived off input from its own panel of medical experts, hired to do a brief review of the public health consequences of fracking -- nevermind the comprehensive independent review it should have commissioned, given what's at stake. 
Sandra Steingraber, and ecologist, scholar, writer and ardent opponent of hydrofracking, has mounted a website, Thirty Days of Fracking Regs, detailing the most obvious flaws in the DEC's proposed regulations and calling on activists to submit a comment a day until the deadline.

Here's a link to a video about the site on Vimeo.

After reviewing the site, please submit your public comment online here at the DEC website.

Catskill Mountainkeeper and its coalition partners will submit scientific and technical comments detailing the flaws in the regulations, but they also want to demonstrate to the DEC that there is widespread public opposition to fracking in New York State.  To do that, they need a high volume of public comments between now and January 11. The goal is 30,000.

Submit your comment here now.  And please forward a link to this post to your friends and neighbors, urging them to do the same.

Don't let the drilling industry frack New York.  Too much is at stake.  Submit your public comment here  today.

Thank you.

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