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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

Linda Kehoe
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Vicky Lentz
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
John May, MD
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Win McIntyre
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Jim Patrick
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Marybeth Vargha
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Donna Vogler
Otsego County Conservation Association
101 Main St. PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY
Regina Readling
111 Hicks Street, Apt 13L
Brooklyn, NY
Jackson Thomas
Adirondack Mountain Club
970 Danby Drive
Webster, NY
Nicholas Howey
53 E. Tenth St.
New York, New York
Nancy Merriman
414 Telephone Road
West Henrietta, NY
Gail Soucy
111 Westage at the Harbor
Rochester, NY
Joseph Flynn
208 Peartree Drive
Camillus, NY
Robbyn McKie Holzworth
citizen of NYS
784 Oakridge Dr
Rochester, NY
Margaret reek
Adirondack Mt. Club, Finger Lakes Trail Conference
3090 Griffin Rd
Churchville, NY
Anne Salisbury
Yates Progressives
606 Crescent Beach Road
Branchport, New York
Judy Marie Tucci
ADK-Onon Chapter
450 Hazelhurst Ave Apt# 2
Syracuse, NY
Andrew Timm
24 Groveland E-4
Geneseo, New York
Betsy Keller
Aiken Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Joanne Mitchell
Genesee Valley Audubon Society
169 Black Walnut Dr.
Rochester, NY
Gary Mitchell
Adirondack Mountain Club, Genesee Valley Chapter
169 Black Walnut Dr.
Rochester, NY
Geoff Heath
9891 Day Road
Hammondsport, NY
Sal Salvaggio
151 East St
Oneonta, NY
Nancy Murphy
38 East Main St.
Stony Point, NY
Diane Woodruff
1664 St. Rt. 28
Mohawk, NY
Ann Sartwell
974 Danby Drive
Webster, New York
Donald Baird
770 Bel Arbor Trl
Webster, NY
Susan Tkach
5 Arlington Street
Rochester, New York
Susan Marks
1772 W Meeting House Rd
Cortland, Ny
Christine Annis
1222 Imperial Dr
Webster, NY
James Luening
20 Smallwood Dr.
Pittsford, NY
Carol Crain
4495 West Bluff Dr.
Keuka Park, NY
Susan Titus
250 Culver Road
Ithaca, New York
Theresa Evans
131 Rigi Ave
Syracuse, NY
charles crary
ADK Onondaga chapter
933 kirkpatrick street
syracuse, new york
Edith Schneider
8 Ampor Beach
Hilton, New York
Allison Taisey
8315 Rt 227
Trumansburg, NY
Patrick Heise
5346 Rice Road
Trumansburg, NY
Eric Mastroberti
22 Sunrise Dr.
Newfield, New York
paul yaman
4449 kiwanis road
east freetown, ny
Karen Mihan
344 Ottaway Rd
Cooperstown, New York
W. Jacqueline Johnson
5787 Barnes Rd
Canandaigua, NY
Renee Daily
770 Jones Rd.
Vestal, NY
Will Holetes
406 Linn St.
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Angello
P.O. Box 81
Philmont, NY
Bryan Davis
Ithaca College
1532 Slaterville Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Sarah Mansfield
953 danby road
ithaca, ny
carol Schwelm
6079 Dana Shores Dr.
Honeoye, New York
Julietta Eisenberg
35 West 92nd Street #2G
New York, NY
Silene Binkerd-Dale
392 Locke Rd.
Groton, NY
lisa mastroberti
808 1/2 broad street
endicott, ny
Candace Mingins
141 Albee Hill Road
Van Etten, NY
Chris Stoscheck
Precision Builders
207 W. Clinton ST
Itbaca, NY
andrea turner
po box 295
trumansburg, new york
Robert Warfield
PO Box 1
Freeville, NY
Luke Gustafson
201 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Lewis Blaustein
Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc.
145 West 96th St, Apt 8E
New York, NY
Marc Alt
424 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Thomas Mooney
100-10 Ascan Avenue
Forest Hills, New York
Daryl Anderson
42 Whig Street
Trumansburg, NY
Daniel Lieberstein
158 West 81st Street, Apt. 54
New York, NY
Charlotte Acharya
613 N Tioga St
Ithaca, NY
Jesse Ash
New York , NY
Patricia Taylor
l879 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Maura Stephens
Shaleshock, ROUSE, NYRAD, CPNY
PO Box
Spencer, NY
Rev. Kevin Bunger
Hydro Relief Web
7616 E. South St.
Clinton, NY
Kate Bartholomew
2945 Mills Road
Montour Falls, New York
Brendan Woodruff
1664 State Route 28
Mohawk, NY
Justin Petriski
3 Oxford Dr. Apt. 3
Latham, NY
Christopher Brant
176 33rd St. Apt. 2R
Brooklyn, New York
Vincenzo Verrelli
Hinsdale Avenue
Floral Park, NY
William Welch
23 Marshall Ave
Mohawk, New York
Susan Miller
716 N Tioga St
Ithaca, NY
Martin Dodge
Finger Lakes community College
6105 Jones Road
Canandaigua, NY
Paul Mihan
344 Ottaway Rd.
Cooperstown, NY
darlene eastland
302 crestwood
rochester, ny
Ashley Mowbray
404 Main ave
Wynantskill, New York
Shaoping Hu
111 Hickory Circle
Ithaca, NY
Pamela Markham
520 Chestnut St.
Ithaca, NY
allyson leavenworth
275 morey park road
nassau, New York
Steve Miller
Clearwater, Beacon Sloop Club
Frog Hollow PO Box 99
Waccabuc, NY
Shelley Lay
22 Corbett Ave.
Binghamton, NY
Scott Guest
117 N. Main St.
Canandaigua, NY
Jana Lamboy
864 Hastings Road
Geneva, NY
Ron Riddle
Riddle Music
235 Harvey Hill Rd
Ithaca,, NY
Deb Muratore
Sierra Club
3 Penview Dr
Rochester, NY
Ellen Pratt
Friends of Blue Heron Park
355 Harold Avenue
Staten Island, New York
Allan Ploth
28 Lakeview Drive
Atlantas, GA
Peter Davies
Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition
755 Snyder Hill Road
Ithaca, NY
Kristin Lovelace-Ross
Lovelace-Ross Consulting
Waterburg Road
Trumansburg, NY
Ryan Schroeder
330 melrose street #2
brooklyn, ny
Patricia Larzelere
3256 Rt. 54A
Bluff Point, NY
Sage Rakestraw
2046 Factory Hollow rd#13
Lima, NY
Nancy Zahler
3480 Agard Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Barbara Nussbaum
Cayuga Trails Club
925 Mitchell Street #1
Ithaca, NY
Gundula Lee
3 Benjamin Hill Road
Newfield, , NY
Ashlie DeArmitt
2324 Route 305
Cuba, NY
Laurie Roe
108 West Buffalo Stteet
Ithaca, New York
Susan Evans-Pond
142 Westhaven Rd
Ithaca, NY
Richard Andrews
trout Unlimited
2660 Slaterville Road
Slaterville Springs, New York
philip ferrara
73 macbeth str.
rochester, ny
Kathleen Pearson
2465 Turk Hill Rd
Victor, NY
Barbara Brody
19 Courtright Ln
Rochester, New York
Joe Golowka
191 Main St. Apt. 4R
Binghamton, NY
Sandra Sheldon
Concerned Citizens of Allegany County
6592 Shongo Valley Rd
Fillmore, NY
Elaine Hardman
private citizen
3180 Riverside Drive
Wellsvillw, NY
Joanne G. Allen
Concerned Citizens of Allegany County Inc.
177 Rauber Street
Wellsville, NY
Carole Camp
154 Vassar St.
Rochester, NY
Barbara Harrison
779 Caldwell Hill Road
Lisle, NY
Bibi Sandstrom
Mid-Hudson Sierra Club
48 S Manheim
New Paltz, NY
denise delosa
776 wheeler road
gillett, pa
Paul Neumann
82 Scholfield Road
Rochester, NY
Marilyn Rizzo-Ferris
68 Emerald Point
Rochester, NY
Diane Krein
4616 Foster Valley Rd
Endicott, NY
Christopher Sierzega
4 Thomas Maria Circle
Webster, New York
H.Toni Norton
605 Pine Crest Road
Endicott, New York
Stephen Jayne
P.O. Box 1934
Cameron, NY
Ariel Fajardo
23 Orchard Avenue
Johnson City, NY
Elizabeth Wolff
5 canaan rd
brooktondale, ny
Karen Charman
Catskill Heritage Alliance
P.O. Box 196
Mt. Tremper, NY