You are here

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

Diane MacInnes
739 Oquaga Lake Road
Deposit, NY
Stanley Salthe
42 Laurel Bank Avenue
Deposit, New York
Marcia N. Douglas
272 S. L'Hommedieu Street
Montour Falls, NY
Rema Loeb
571 St. John Rd.
Afton, NY
Cynthia Lamb
117 Christopher Cir.
Ithaca, NY
Cherry Rahn
Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition
16 Jay Street
Geneva, NY
Christine Hughes
155 Brown Road
Groton, NY
Melissa Bishop
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy
24 Church St.
Deposit, NY
Lewis Freedman
2161 Coddington Road
Brooktondale, NY
Mike Ryan
Toxics Targeting
215 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Hope Grietzer
527 Strong Road
Owego, NY
Maratea Cantarella
491 16TH ST
Brenda Collins
5499 Grove Road
Trumansburg, NY
Pamela Capista
PO Box 286
TRumansburg, NY
charles hooper
1857trumansburg road
trumansburg, new york
Wes Ernsberger
19 Lake St.
Owego, New York
Joseph Norton
5506 Rte. 96A
Romulus, NY
Sylvia Zaage
Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
160 simonson ave
staten island, NY
Gerald Wolfe
474 Snyder Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Richard Glick
312 Eastwood Avenue
Ithaca, NY
david kelly
otisco lake preservation Association
4687 Fairbanks drive
Syracuse, ny
Matthew Smith
414 W 121 St. #62
New York, NY
Joel Wysong
2675 Agard Road
Trumansburg, NY
De Murphy
215 Connecticut Hill Rd
Newfield , NY
Glenda Blake
138 Greenridge St.
Johnson City, NY
Mel Garskof
201 East 28th Street, Apt. 8P
New York, NY
Lisa Wright-Mathews
346 Boiceville Rd
Brooktondale , New York
Beth Mielbrecht
53 Enfield Main Road
Ithaca, NY
Warren Marr
739 Oquaga Lake Road
Deposit, NY
bee kaye
140 7 av
new york, ny
Donald Mintz
29 Whig Street
Trumansburg, NY
Deborah Kuklis
105 Fletcher Street
Horseheads, NY
Glenn Erikson, Ph.D.
5440 Route 30
East Branch, NY
Jacqueline Jarvi
4405 S. Kasson Rd.
Syracuse, New York
Susan Kendrick
1228 Ellis Hollow Road
Ithaca, NY
Carol Fletcher
126 North Salina Street
Syracuse, NY
Marilyn Stone
4334 Chilmark Street
Marcellus, New york
Jessica Wall
615 Utica St.
Ithaca, NY
Jennifer DeMarsh
1966 Delaware Ave. Apt. #6
Buffalo, NY
Jaclyn Lundblad
3230 Marietta Rd.
Marietta , NY
Pete Heitzman
POB 335
ONeida, NY
Clayton Smith
504 Grand St Apt B24
New York, NY
Mary Hirshfeld
595 Hammond Hill Road
Brooktondale, NY
Sarah Strong
205 Middle St
Hadley, MA
Charles Reavis
119 Emerson Rd.
Castle Creek, NY
Maureen Ferrell
People For a Healthy Environment (PHE)
209 Lovell Avenue
Elmira, NY
Bette Ek
Coalition to Protect NY; People for a Healthy Environment
235 Prospect Hill Road
Horseheads, NY
Lee Stockwell
PO Box 546
Cooperstown, NY
Deena Rambaum
161 Gray Rd
Ithaca, NY
John Humphries
117 Hopkin Road
Ithaca, NY
Sarah McNaull
2521 West Danby Road
West Danby, NY
Susan Tarrow
321 Strawberry Hill Circle #3
Ithaca, NY
rebecca golding
107 Rich Rd
Ithaca, NY
Susan Kramer
406 N Cayuga St
Ithaca, NY
Edward Solomon
105 Mitchell Hollow Rd
Odessa, NY
Kathleen Albertini
27 Chelmsford Rd
Rochester, NY
John King
2517 Rhonda Dr.
Vestal, New York
Whitney Wiggins
168 Grove School Rd.
Brooktondale, NY
Jean Withrow
PO Box 13
Walton, NY
John Jongen
Perinton Historical Society
164 W Church Street
Fairport, NY
Asha Sanaker
677 Cobb St
Groton, NY
Chelsea Raymond
311 W. Broad St.
Horseheads, New York
Katherine Funk
2789 Forest Hill Drive
Corning, NY
Anthony Parcero
1111 Fairdale Glen
Farmington, NY
John Back
Highland Concerned Citizens
7 Harder Road
Barryville, NY
Amanda Byrnes
127 Co. Hwy. 5
Otego, NY
Lori Snyder
Otisco Lake
PO Box 21
Winchester Center, CT
Myra Rappoport
38 Woods Road
Yulan, New York
John Kamp
38 Woods Road
Yulan, NY
Paulina Pavinski Bitar
314 Graduate Drive
Ithaca, NY
Gayle Gray
1854 Ellis Hollow Rd.
Ithaca, New York
Barbara Perrone
395 Brooktondale Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Sharon Marx
156 Bundy Road
Ithaca, NY
Susan Deane-Miller
126 Hooker Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY
Mary Smith
Church Women United NYS
3512 Michigan Ave
Elmira, NY
Charles Elrod
Cayuga Trails Club
101 Rockwell Rd
Newfield, NY
John Kesich
628 Bailey Creek Rd
Millerton, PA
Rebecca McCutcheon
3060 DuBoise Road
Ithaca, Ny
Pamela Wax
12 W. 104th St. #B
New York, New York
Charles Puryear
Pob 893
Trumansburg, New York
sharon berger
245 Eastman Hill Rd
Willseyville, NY
george mansfield
5 churchill st
beacon, ny
Susan Lausell
14 Elder Drive
Morristown, NJ
david hirsch
327 tupper rd
spencer, NY
clare nicholetti
903 Hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Dan Belliveau
95 Lafayette Avenue
Geneva, NY
Jacqueline L Wichman
516 South Plain Street
Ithaca, New York
Sarah Funk
2789 Forest Hill Dr
Corning, NY
Neil Collier
10 Mildred Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY
Tamara Iversen
700 Beaver Meadow Rd
Cooperstown, New York
Jeannette Shaheen
233 w. 19th street #1re
New York, NY
Pamela Kline
PO Box 416
Claverack, NY
diane specioso
27 E. 13 St.
New York, NY
Judy Fogel
12 Waterview Circle
Ithaca, New York
Sara Silverstone
24 Brook Terrace
Brockport, NY
Jennifer Svitko
952 E. State St
Ithaca, NY
Suku Menon
701 Shanlee Drive
Webster, NY
Robert Bresnan
Otisco Lake Preservation Association
1885 Otisco Valeey RD
Marietta, NY
Stephen Geng
21A Brook Hill Ln
Rochester, NY
Carl Good
21 Lake St.
Cooperstown, NY
Jai Khalsa
PO Box 395
Ithaca, NY
Adam Berenstain
1450 Mecklenburg Road
Ithaca, NY
Jason Deuro
1996 Delaware Ave. Apt 6
Buffalo , NY
Rita Jongen
247 Rutgers Street
Rochester, NY
Barry Lebost
921 N Mountain Rd
Gardiner, New York
Adam Engst
50 Hickory Road
Ithaca, NY
Julia Morgan
234 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Daniel Sternglass
Strategic Marketing Associates, computer consulting
403 Highgate Road
Ithaca, NY
Edith Spaulding
2099 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Ruth Eiss
Ruth Eiss, LCSW
150 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, New York
Mary Bresnan
Otisco Lake Preservation Associationexplaining
1885 Otisco Valley Rd
Marietta, NY
Richard Pallaria
Catskill Mountainkeeper
141 Bernas Road
Cochecton, New York
Vincent Aliperti
4760 West Lake Road
Geneva, New York
Joan Bozman
10249 Gibson Road
Hammondsport, NY
Steve Shaum
5269 Stillwell Road
Trumansburg, NY
Jeannine Bohler
368 Tripp Hill Road
Fly Creek, NY
leonard printup
rt11a box258a
nedrow, ny
annie campbell
fitzgerald rd.
trumansburg, ny
Ralph Poole
4119 County Rd. 6
Geneva, NY
Edward Herman
10714 Longhouse Lane
Corning, NY