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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

Charles Hyman
12 Lake Street
Cooperstown, ny
Eric Hartelius
6006 Route 209
Kerhonkson, NY
Margaret McCasland
1893-A East SHore Dr.
Lansing, NY
katherine klingensmith
PO Box 549
Alfred Station , NY
Briana Hussey
1 Sutton Place
Wheatley Heights, NY
paula matteson
102 ottaway road
cooperstown, ny
Wm. David Plance
2179 Tupper Hill Rd.
Franklin, NY
james nagel
5 canaan rd
brooktondale, ny
Liz Harvey
111 Lake Street
Cooperstown, New York
Steven Daniel
Burroughs Audubon Nature Club
181 Railroad Mills Road
Pittsford, NY
Richard P & Kumiko T Korf
Mycotaxon, Ltd,
316 Richard Pl
Ithaca, New York
David W. Fischer
150 Seeley Ave.
Syracuse, NY
Susan Zakos
227 S. Geneva St. Apt 1
Ithaca, NY
Melanie Stein
306 Sunnyview Lane
Ithaca, NY
Hermann Rittler
11033 Tannery Creek Road
Corning, New York
Joanie Fritz Zosike
Action Racket Theatre
56 E 4th St Apt BA
New York, NY
Elizabeth Fattaruso
West Hill Civic Association
721 Cliff Street
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Guthrie
951 Summitville Drive
Webster, New York
Kathleen FitzPatrick
16 Larchwood Drive
Pittsford, NY
Phil Cianciotto
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
12 Kirkby Trail
Fairport, New York
Susan Bush
173 Nersesian Road
Hartwick, NY
Paula Greene
2183 Co Hwy 33
Cooperstown, NY
John S Davis MD
190 Ottaway Road
Cooperstown, NY
nancy ploeger
748 Oak Hill Road
claverack, ny
camilla johnson
280 Dawes Hill Rd
Newfield, NY
Luigi Morelli
PO Box 35
Philmont, NY
Terry Allison
Lamoka-Waneta Lake Association
94 Carrollton Avenue
Elmira, New York
Leye Aina
6118 Camelback Lane
Columbia, MD
J. Cutting
72 Rothermich Road
Ithaca, NY
william brown
247 Doc Ahler Road
Cherry Valley , NY
Erin Edwards
1857 County Rte 10
Ancram, NY
dianne guzzetta
25 village trail
honeoye falls, new york
colleen bronson
1409 seymour road
vestal, ny
Joyce Hunt
Hunt Country Vineyards
4021 Italy Hill Rd.
Branchport, NY
Rebecca Sullivan
647 State Route 8
Cassville, NY
Daniel Schneider
3 Amber Lane
Ithaca, NY
Amy Wolfe
4561 Newcomb Hollow Rd
Cohocton, Ny
Mary Campbell
9959 Mutton Hollow Rd.
Prattsburgh, NY
Dietmar Jaeck
407 Gulf Rd
Hartwick, New York
Seth Hazen
Boy Scout Troop 1
414 Chemung Street
Waverly, NY
Joseph Nicholas
222 North 6th Street, #1L
Brooklyn, NY
Christine Lowe-Diemecke
26 Maple Avenue
Spencer, NY
Ilyssa Berg
371 Mittedorf Rd
Garrattsville, NY
Sandra Miller
234 Bluhm road
Fairport, NY
Thomas Morrissey
4153 NV Maine Rd
Newark Valley, ny
Ross M. Horowitz
Danby NY Gas Drilling Task Force
820 West King Road
Ithaca, NY
Martha and Joseph Wilson
Dryden Resource Awareness Council (DRAC)
75 Hunt Hill Road
Ithaca, NY
Rodney Smith Jr
Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association
5183 Whitecliff Dr
Canandaigua, NY
Mary McDonnell
PO Box 132
Eldred, NY
Monte Coleman
5 Old Brook Road
Barryville, New York
Mary-Jo Merk
405 Bissell Road
Fly Creek, NY
Kathy L Tobiassen
583 Potato Farm Rd.
Laurens, NY
Marissa Hughes
172 main st apt #3
Oneonta, Ny
Craig LaForte
1456 State Highway 8
Mount Upton, NY
Julie Rancourt
185 Washington Cir
Lake Forest, IL
June Summers
Gnesee Valley Audubon Society
208 Rhea Crescent
Rochester, NY
Gail Musante
199 Front Street
Deposit, NY
Nancy J Pierson
1089 Bowerman Rd.,
Scoosville, NY
Robin Kimmerer
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
1939 Jerome Rd
Fabius, NY
tamarie cataldo
2525 smith rd
canandaigua, ny
Kristin Wiles
11083 Button Falls Rd.
West Edmeston, NY
Paul LeBlanc
221 Parkview Drive
Harpursville, New York
Robert & Nora Olson
1 Main Street , Unit 3306
Nyack, NY
Amy Pratt
291 East 5th street
Brooklyn, New York
Susan Pixley
The Nature Conservancy
83 Huntington Meadow
Rochester, NY
Angel E. Lopez
221 North 11th. Street #2
Brooklyn, NY
Lori Weisenberg-Catalano
52 Wildwood lane
Roslyn Heights, NY
Laura Day
135 Northview Road
Ithaca, NY
Scott Perez
201A Christopher Lane
Ithaca, NY
Ronald Bayzon
235 Dropp Road
Richfield Springs, New York
Mary MacDonald
611 Beattie Street
Syracuse, NY
Robert Giddings
70 Mud Pond Road
Highland Lake, New York
Lucas Hopkins
1390 Halsey Valley Rd.
Barton, New York
Kathryn Boardman
PO Box 666
Cooperstown, NY
Eileen Murphy
208 Pottery Lane
Cooperstown, New YOrk
benoist DRUT
126 East 10th Street
New York, NY
Michael Kaye
107 West 25th street # 5E
New York, ny
Timothy DeMarsh
1143 Eastshore Dr., South Apt.
Ithaca, NY
Steve Hoffman
503 Shaffer Rd.
Newfield, NY
Vaughn Baker
3695 Bay View
Penn Yan, New York
Robert Gillespie
2888 Sherman Hollow Road
Penn Yan, New York
Sharon Pierce
85 Victor Lane
Hamlin, NY
Bonnie Barney
3415 Brandy Bay
Penn Yan, NY
david white
272 n. applegate rd.
ithaca, nY
Steven Hatfield
1491 county hwy. 34
Schenevus, New York
Thomas Beale
551 W21st St Suite 206
New York, NY
david berg
glen cove, NY
Naomi Grigoli
PO Box 1141
Cooperstown, NY
Laura Silverman
995 State Route 55
Eldred, NY
Judith A Cartisano
7 Raymond Street
Rochester, NY
Larry Cook
Fool Quart Press
7262Rt. 415 N
Bath, N.Y.
Richard Gillespie
2810 E. Sherman Hollow Rd.
Penn yan, N.Y.
jim hoffmann
208 pottery lane
cooperstown, ny
jane meader
59 palmear rd
freeville, ny
Efrim Adnopoz
8195 East Bluff Drive
Penn Yan, NY
Seth Thompson
10 Kent Drive
Cortland, New York
Ellis McDowell-Loudan
3 W. Academy St.
McGraw, NY
Jacob Shapiro
123 Troup St Rear Apt
Rochester, new york
Liz Field
803 S. Plain St.
Ithaca, NY
kaye chetwin
5 west oneida street
baldwinsville, ny
Laura E. Arney
Rochester (NY) Regional Group, Sierra Club
16 Barnfield Road
Pittsford, NY
Mary Chapin
Citizens for the Protection of Health and Environment
56 Woodbrooke Road
New Hartford, New York
Elizabeth Lee Taylor
53 Maplewood Avenue
Honeoye Falls, NY
George Billard
995 State Route 55
Eldred, NY
Philip Graham
13 Crooked Lane
Glen Spey, New York
Kristine Boys Faust
119 west hill School Rd
Richford , NY
Mia Kristiansson
Plantagon International AB
Rålambsvägen 17
Stockholm, Sweden
John and Karen Confer
651 Hammond Hill Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Norman Woodruff
1664 State Route 28
Mohawk, New York
Kevin Moss
503B Etna Road
Ithaca, NY
Jeromy Biazzo
4041 CR 2
Burdett, NY
Carlene Cortright
744 Irish Settlement Road
Freeville, New York
Carol Delany
379 Roscoe Jones Road
Cooperstown, New York
Lawrence Delaney
379 Roscoe Jones Road
Cooperstown, New York
Martha Clarvoe
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Andree Conklin
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Mark Davies
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Jonathan Dokuchitz
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Tier French
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Willard Harman, PhD
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY