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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

Laura Neiman
60 Seaman Ave 5G
New York, New York
Sue Rapp
Friends of Vestal
248 Noyes Road
Vestal NY 13850, NY
Wendy Fillmore
305 Esty Street
Ithaca, NY
Bonnie Ratnoff Seegmiller
PO Box M
Downsville, NY
Luce Guanzini
87 West Hill Rd
Spencer, NY
Richard Lewis
4211 State Route 13
Truxton, New York
Jane Atkin
181 Westhaven Road
Ithaca, NY
Mary DeMarsh
928 Peirson Ave.
Newark, NY
Jane Russell
Owner, Around the Corner Catering
8947 Roff Hill Road
Pulteney, NY
Mary Bergen
POB 115
Hartwick, NY
Lynn Thirion
2011 Maple St.
Millport, NY
David Thuma
PO Box 613 120 Pleasant Meadow Rd
Cooperstown, NY
Mary Beth OConnor
119 Middaugh Road
Brooktondale, NY
Christian Thirion
2011 Maple St.
Millport, NY
Noreen Girao
99 Marakill Lane
New Paltz, NY
Elizabeth Murphy
Middlefield Neighbors
1257 State Hwy 166
Cooperstown, NY
Karyn Quinlan
7161 County Rd. 12
Naples, New York
Brian Maltzan
350 Midline Rd
Freeville, NY
allan warshawsky
po box 933
ithaca, NY
Jane Blake
507 Gabel Road
Callicoon, NY
Ron LeCain
731 E. Shore Dr.
Ithaca, NY
patricia welch
Camillus Erie Canal Park
27 north st.
camillus, NY
Stacy Yeater
5920 Fausold Road
Hector, NY
Tom Walls
25 Maple Ave
Spencer, NY
Stephen Keast
PO Box 105, Hurd Rd
Slaterville Springs, NY
Anne Posel
324 Mitchell Street
Ithaca, NY
Michael Millow
NY State Citizen
5783 E Lake Rd
Romulus, NY
Karen Cycon
10 Delaware Street
Sidney, NY
Alan Grover
664 Dawson Hill Road
Spencer, NY
Nelie Rea
555 N. Taylor Place
Ithaca, NY
Dave Davies
219 Auburn St
Ithaca, NY
Richard Harrington
3310 Wayne Street
Endwell, NY
Deanna Berman
206 RAchel Carson Way
Ithaca, Ny
Diane Deutsch
3995 State Route 52
Youngsville , New York
Karen Peterson
116 Greenridge Dr
Horseheads, NY
Thomas Whitney
PO Box 117 13 Dula Pl
Bolton Landing, NY
trina bruno
153 east king rd
ithaca, ny
Linda Lacelle
8484 State Route 20
Waterville, NY
Mary I. Arlin
623 Utica Street
Ithaca, NY
Anita Williams
Otisco Lake Preservation Association
4406 Belleflower Circle
Syracuse, NY
Joan Marcus
59 Bald Hill Rd.
Spencer, NY
Nancy Kleinrock
5269 Stilwell Road
Trumansburg, NY
Yvonne Taylor
154 Ludlowville Rd
Freeville, NY
Saralinda Lobrose
122 East Main St.
Plainfield, MA
Susan Crowell
818 Trumbulls Corners Road
Newfield, NY
Lisa Smith
435 County Route 7A
Copake, New York
Alexander DeWilde
1465 Mecklenburg Road
Ithaca, New York
Steve Bohler
PO Box 173
Fly Creek, NY
Antoinette Di Ciaccio
112 Turner Park
Montour Falls, NY
Raylene Ludgate
223 Canaan Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Ezra Sherman
308 Beckhorn Hollow Road
Van Etten, NY
Tom Nix
49 German Crossroad
Ithaca, NY
Maryellen Driscoll
497 McKinley Road
Palatine Bridge, NY
Kenneth Fruehstorfer
497 McKinley Road
Palatine Bridge, NY
Kathleen Pellegrini
31 Reid St.
Fort Plain, New York
William Barnett
40 Genung Circle
Ithaca, New York
Irina Chernyakov
627 Warren Pl
Ithaca, NY
Carrie Chalmers
313 S. Corn St. #2
Ithaca, NY
Corinna Lewis
oplarguy 291
43 N. Applegate Rd
Ithaca, NY
Eric Serritella
528 Sebring Rd
Newfield, NY
michael ashkin
117 elmwood ave
ithaca, NY
E. Richard Stanley
380 Riverside Drive Apt 1H
New York, NY
Ramsey Brous
601 W King Rd
Ithaca, NY
Sandy Harrity
5618 State Route 145
Cobleskill, New York
Samantha Wolfe
The Tompkins County Workers Center, The Action-Reflection Circle, The Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity, The First Baptist Church
510 E Seneca St
Ithaca, NY
David Gould
Catskill Mountainkeeper
15 Broad St. #2126
New York, NY
Nancy Norton
Stone Quarry House
26 Quarry Road
Ithaca, NY
Cathy Neally
33 Rodaha Drive
Corning, NY
Tony Donatelli
1080 Schuyler St
Endicott, NY
Nancy Reynolds
405 Hattie Clark Road
Greene, NY
Donna R. Davis
3221 St Rt 414
Burdett, NY
Susan & Michael Stinson
126 Hampshire Dr
Rochester, NY
Greg Wooster
9 Town Line Rd
Ithaca, NY
Renee Baum
6 Elm Street
Brooktondale, NY
Emme Hones
2504 State Route 79
Trumansburg, NY
Alexis Heinz
825 N Aurora St Apt3
Ithaca, NY
Lisa Montanus
105 Cardinal Ct.
Woodstock, NY
Susan Higgins
Heart & Hands Wine Company
4162 State Rt 90 N
Union Springs, NY
Peter Specker
611 N Aurora St
Ithaca, New York
john brennan
7 twomey place
geneva, ny
Carol Martin
209 Centerville Loop Road
Harpursville, New York
Peggy Leon
Middlefield Neighbors
652 Beaver Meadow Rd
Cooperstown, NY
Anna Stalter
249 Dubois Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Loretta Henrie
1272 Kaltenbeck Rd.
Middlesex, NY
Hannah Hones
state rout 79
trumansburg, NY
Ruth Young
People for a Healthy Environment, Inc.
204 Sayre Street
Horseheads, N.Y.
Robert Nichols
75 State Street
Skaneateles, NY
David Mitchell
402 Esty Street
Ithaca, New York
Therese Wilson
2066 Mecklenburg rd.
Ithaca, NY
gregory crowell
166 phoenix mills crossrd
cooperstown, ny
PO BOX 449
Maryann Young
360 Court Street, #36
Brooklyn, NY
helen crowell
166 phoenix mills crossrd
cooperstown, ny
Charles Dunaway
1581 Slaterville Rd.
Ithaca, New York
Nora Hones
2504 State Route 79
Trumansburg, NY
Nathan Richardson
REP Studio
519 Willow Ave
Ithaca, NY
Ellen Baer
247 Dubois Rd
Ithaca, NY
Jessica Evett-Miller
P.O. Box 284
Etna, NY
Glenna Dunaway
1581 Slaterville Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Caitlin Gareth
228 Campbell Hill Road
Cooperstown, NY
Brian Goldblatt
6208 Dodge Road
Lafayette, NY
Robert Hones
2504 State Route 79
Trumansburg, NY
Kristine DeLuca
614 S. Albany St.
Ithaca, NY
Julian Hones
2504 State Route 79
Trumansburg, NY
Priscilla Timberlake
2161 Coddington Rd
Brooktondale, nY
joseph ziegler
297 hunt hill rd.
port crane, n.y.
Miriam Bloom
315 Eighth Avenue, #16B
New York, NY
Barbara Alden
247 Dubois Road
Ithaca, NY
michael bine
1773 teedlebrook rd
jefferson, ny
Maureen Thitchener
7161 County Rd. 12
Naples, New York
Susan Roenke
2586 Agard Road
Trumansburg, NY
Pamela Washburn
42 Elm Street
Cooperstown, NY
Patricia Carlson
183 Seven Mile Drive
Ithaca, NY
Kathleen Gallo
783 County Route 47
Redfield, NY
Robert Rice
Lumberland Concerned Citizens
185 Upper Lumber Rd
Glen Spey, NY
Elba Ramirez Velez
326 Mt. Pleasant Rd.
Freeville , NY
Gary Bercow
963 Comfort Road
Spencer, NY
John Guttridge
306 E. State Street
Ithaca, NY
Delores Bennett
Action Otsego
PO box 556
Unadilla, NY