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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

Erin Rafalowski
PO Box 326 (Tobey Rd)
Prattsburgh, NY
Craig Person
9 West Street
Fairport, NY
Anne Sierigk
5066 Mott Evans RD
Trumansburg, NY
Samantha Herring
2367 old edgemere drive
rochester, ny
Mary Spilman
710 Ulster St
Syracuse , New York
Mary Pizzente-Morich
42 Telephone Road
West Henrietta, NY
Erin Caruth
1025 Coddington Rd
Nina Sander
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
1215 Fifth Avenue Apt 17A
New York, NY
Marilyn Wienk
The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester (TIAR)
274 Rosedale Street
Rochester, New York
Martha Sullivan
1 Manor Hill Dr.
Fairport, New York
Anne Dabbracci
46 Johnson Ave
Binghamton, NY
cenie cafarelli
sierra club
192 greenvale dr
rochester, ny
gary browne
136 Surrey Hill Way
Rochester, ny
Jeff Bekasinski
136 Surrey Hill Way
Rochester, NY
Rachel Warren
59 Tomahawk Trail
Henrietta, New York
Harry Judge
583 Fredericks Rd
Johnson City, NY
Jan Judge
583 Fredericks Rd
Johnson City, NY
Gary Swift
3308 Paulding Ave.
Bronx, New York
Jane Ellen Bleeg
940 Mt. Hope Avenue
Rochester, NY
Marilyn Galley
59 Overland Tr.
W.Henrietta, N.Y.
David Minor
Eagles Byte
88 South Main Street
Pittsford, NY
MaryBeth Gorman
19 Harlem Street
Rochester, New York
Pin-Seng Tschang
883 Winona Blvd
Rochester, NY
John Given
118 Lieb Rd.
South New Berlin, New Yorj
Michael Bosetti
Syracuse, NY
Susan McKowen
PO Box 1413
Frazier Park, CA
Amy Gavin
256 Poplar ave
valley falls, NY
Judith Bello
785 Winifred Drive
Webster, New York
Gerry Minerd
27 Kimberly Rd.
Pittsford, New York
Carrie Cohen
45 Bald Hill School Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Gregory Emerson
45 Bald Hill School Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Margaret Weeks
P.O. Box 303
Tyrone, NY
Douglas Huck
1344 Redman Road
Hamlin, New York
Benjamin Perkus
1617 State Route 12
Binghamton, NY
jennifer sternberg
258 roxbury road
hudson, NY
Kris Pixton
741 Echo Rd
Vestal, NY
Maria Seccia
417 Grand Street #D1001
New York, NY
James Bryden
Sierra Club
50 Beethoven Street
Binghamton, NY
Jan Quarles
7342 Wyers Point Rd
Ovid, NY
Nedra Harvey
275 Berkeley St.
Rochester, NY
Eric Slocum
Sixth generation citizen of NY
7187 Jacksonville Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Susan Kukle
6 Arnold Park
Rochester, NY
Elaine Johnson
21 Sutherland St.
Pittsford, NY
M. Gratia (Mary H.) L'Esperance, RSM
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester
275 Parsells Avenue
Rochester, New York
David Werier
30 Banks Rd.
Brooktondale, New York
Bruce Gilman
5308 Charland Road
Middlesex, New York
Don Ellis
35 Bradley Street
Turmansburg, NY
Siobhan Burke
Capital District Against Fracking
1635 Van Vranken Ave, 2'nd floor
Schenectady, NY
H Robert Herman
87 Hillary Lane
Penfield, NY
Sharon Long
246 Deer Meadow Rd., PO Box 457.
White Lake, New York
Peter and Gail Mott
The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester
57 S Main St
Pittsford, NY
Mary Lou Krueger
1050 Winona blvd
Rochester, NY
Janice Fagan
83 Forestburgh Road Unit#36
Monticello, NY
John and Cinda Graham
291 Barrington St.
Rochester, NY
Naomi Fells
721 Hancock Street
Brooklyn, New York
Travis Jones
571 st. john rd.
afton, new york
Dennis Pixton
741 Echo Rd
Vetal, NY
Olaleye Aina
6118 Camelback Lane
Columbia, MD
Hilary Gold
423 Bostock Rd.
Shokan, NY
Julie Greenwood
Miller Rd
Mount Tremper, NY
Joel Kovel
386 Sickler Road
Willow, NY
Eldad Benary
129 George Sickle road
Saugerties, NY
Marnie Andrews
PO Box 95, 43 Miller Road
Mount Tremper, NY
Roger Wall
PO Box 552 (48 Bonnieview Ave.)
Pine Hill, NY
Joel Benton
1553 Wittenberg Rd
Mt. Tremper, NY
Rachel Weissman
527 West 110th Street
New York, NY
Barbara Sturman
3694 Rte 42
Lexington, NY
Elly Wininger
PO Box 232
Lake Hill, NY
Christopher Tate
GrassRoots Festival, Shaleshock
5720 Updike Road
Trumansburg, ny
Robert Malkin
Home owner
59 Burnett Rd
Saugerties, New York
Susanna Margolis
170 West End Avenue
New York, NY
tom Fraser
P.O. Box 565
Phoenicia, NY
Mary McKeon
270 Searles Rd
Margaretville, NY
JoAnn Chamberlain
Ulster County Democratic Women
PO Box 4464
Kingston, NY
orivsusan kiok
555 west 52nd street
nyc, new york
Zachary Sklar
PO Box 1388
Olivebridge, NY
tanya marquette
149 forest glen road
new paltz, new york
Stuart Greenfield
60 Johnson Road
Stone Ridge, NY
Melissa Holbrook Pierson
155 Dubois Road
Shokan, NY
John Martin
209 Centerville Loop Road
Harpursville, New York
Jason Lyon
1032 East Windsor Road
Nineveh, NY
Michelle Lyon
1032 East Windsor Road
Nineveh, NY
Patty Lee Parmalee
Save the Ridge
35 Aumick Road
Wallkill, NY
cybele alyce
new york, NY
ed haffmans
425 Co Rt 2
accord, ny
Amy Moses
3422 Cooper St
Stone Ridge, NY
Cynthia Wesdterman
116 Carol Ave.
Vestal, NY
Kenneth Jacobs
46 timber lake road
shandaken, new york
Charlene Dye
8 Cicero Ave
New Paltz, New York
Benjamin Korman
Catskills Herritage Association
Galli Curci Road
Highmount, NY
Beverly Rainone
Catskill Heritage Alliance
POBox 272
Highmount, NY
Diana Sapanaro
P.O Box 396
White Lake , New York
Doris Bartlett
Town Councilman - Town of Shandaken
331 Rt 42
Shandaken, NY
Peter P. Di Modica
Catskill Heritage Alliance
12 Elm Street, P.O. Box 601
Pine Hill, NY
Sara Schwabacher
251 Seaman Ave, #2-G
New York, NY
Doris Soroko
1092 River Road
Barrytown, NewTirj
Elaine Hencke
115 Meadow Court
Woodstock, NY
BBernadette and Willett Beyea
Catskill Heritage Allience and Vice Chairman for Hardenburgh Association of Residents and Tax Payers
6836 Millbrook Rd.
Margaretville, New York
Philip Cali
5 Riverside Drive #910
Binghamton,, NY
Carol Cali
5 Riverside Drive #910
Binghamton,, New York
Joseph Holdner
Union of Concerned Scientists
109 Grassy Ridge Road
Olivebridge, NY
Natasha Williams
22 corriedale lane
cottekill, New York
Anique Taylor
PO Box 367
Phoenicia,, New York
David Pillard
25 Gossoo Road
Shandaken, NY
10 Ingersoll Road
Mt. Tremper, NY
David LaNave
425 port rd.
binghamton, n.y
Marella Feltrin-Morris
609 Torrance Ave.
Vestal, NY
Jon Morris
609 Torrance Ave.
Vestal, NY
Stacey Tesseyman
36 Morton Street 3B
New York, NY
Reverend Scott St. John
Ministry of the Wounded Dove
55 E Bridge St. Apt. 103
Saugerties, New York
Howard Barker
141 Collyer Rd., Box 113
Smithville Flats, New York
Sally Heckel
52 E 1 St. # 4
New York, NY
Kimberly Lindstrom
9531 Caywood Shores
Lodi NY, NY
David Currie
106 Highland Ave
Binghamton, NY
Wendy Most
80 North Moore Street (Apt. 39H)
New York, New York
Maki Yuinada
72 Oliverea Rd
Big Indian, NY
Don Gregorius
Ulster County Legislature
172 Van DAle Rd
Woodstock, NY
G Quealy
West end ave
Kathryn Haber
12 Jay St
Phoenicia, NY
June Brought
317 Rt. 42
Shandaken, NY