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

David Riley
230 Mapes Rd.
Barryville, NY
julien koschmann
705 ringwood road
ithaca, NY
carey Harben
land owner/tax payer/citizen and lover of the earth
5885 rt 79
Trumansburg, New York
Robin Burlingham
601 First Street
Ithaca, NY
Kristina Fedorov
6920 St. Hwy 7
Maryland, NY
Peter Hudiburg
CDOG Chenango, CCARE, Sustainable Otsego, FLEASED, ROUSE
P.O. Box 61
South Plymouth, NY
Mary Fiore
730 Dawes Ave
Utica, NY
William Webber, MD
Physicians for Social Responsibility
10526 E. Seven Generations Way
Tucson, AZ
Anna Sears
3021 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY
Bart Auble
304 Comstock Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Lynn Musgrove
108 williams st
Groton, Ny
Jean Grandizio
5720 Burr Rd
Trumansburg, New York
Barbara Cook
504 Magee St.
Watkins Glen, NY
Melissa Ebner
496 Hayts Rd
Ithaca, NY
William Roberts
253 Coddington Rd
Ithaca, NY
Edward Meisner
463 West 47th Street #1
New York, NY
Cynthia Estes-Smith
501 Enfield Center Road East
Ithaca, NY
Margaret Cooj
7 Elm Street
Brooktondale, New York
Lenore Ferrill
1502 Bonnie Brae St.
Houston, TX
Jeffrey Gilmore
101 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Sigrid Kulkowitz
120 East York Street
Ithaca, NY
Steven Bloom
2671 State Route 245
Stanley, New York
Dr. David A Lewis
Registered Voter
101 Elmwood Ave
Ithaca, NY
Debra Jerome
2671 State Route 245
Stanley, New York
Deborah Lewis
101 Elmwood Ave
Ithaca, NY
James Volpone
33 Bellehurst Drive
Rochester, New York
Diana Drucker
1187 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY
Candace Cornell
The New York State Ornithological Association
1456 Hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Shirley Barton
PO Box 184
Mecklenburg, NY
David Marsh
4951 Seneca Point Rd.
Canandaigua, New York
Beynan Ransom
290 Schenck St
North Tonawanda, New York
Matthew McCarty
1420 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
John Denny
872 Co. Hwy. 35
Maryland, New York
Fernando de Aragon, Ph.D.
308 Utica St.
Ithaca, NY
Charley Tucker
376 West st #3B
New York, NY
Fred Wilcox
212 2nd Street
Ithaca, NY
Rasmus Schultz
1132 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY
Pam Gueldner
28 Brooktondale Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Ronald Powell
24 Melvin Ave.
Cortland, NY
William & Laura Glasner
7491 Modock Rd
Victor, NY
Andrew Page
5516 Updyke Road
Trumansburg, NY
Darren Rist
6 hill terrace
Newton, Nj
mark vanhusen
16 lynacres blvd
fayetteville, new york
Barbara Nichols
623 Hattie Clark Road
Greene, New York
Martin Jorgensen
1699 Taughannock Blvd.
Trumansburg, NY
Freida Jacques
RR#1 Box 312
Nedrow, New York
Nancy Lipshitz
321 Oquaga Lake Road
Deposit, NY
Terezka Korinek
378 Thomas Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Paul Vidovich
97 Goodrich Hill Road
Berkshire, NY
Craig Petersen
2005 Owego RD apt 2
Vestal , NY
Scott Teel
710 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca, NY
Candace Wadsworth
4077 Abbey Rd
Syracuse, NY
Kathleen Deitman
Onondaga Nation School
1122 Gorham Road
Elbridge, NY
Francis Walsh
261 West 93 Street, Apt. 3
New York, NY
Mary Zebell
912 N. Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY
Herbert Haines
12 Hannum Ave.
Homer, NY
Charles Gibson
The Eaton Birding Societyresuinar
162 Canal St.
Lyons, NY
Zac Malkin
36 comfort rd
ithaca, ny
Kathy Dewart
333 ellis hollow creek rd.
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Viglietta
145 Chestnut St. Apt. D21
Ithaca, NY
Claire DeVoogd
447 Tupper Road
Newfield, NY
Rose Hilbert
PO box 95
Trumansburg, NY
Elizabeth Bismore
14 Guiles Road
Spencer, NY
Rosemary Rukavena
2 Peaceful Drive
Ithaca, New York
doris benford
4029 Buck Hill Rd. S
Trumansburg, New York
Harry Bolick
69 Miller Hill Road
Hopewell Junction, New York
Alice Saltonstall
409 Hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Beth Ellen Clark Joseph
Ithaca College
926 Steam Mill Road
Ithaca, NY
Barbara Chasin
129 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Cora Moss
819 North Tioga street
Ithaca, NY
Marc Widmer
121 College AVe
Poughkeepsie, New York
Jennifer Lawrence
111 White Bridge Rd.
old Chatham, N.Y.
Frances Littin
1359 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, NY
Rijo Roy
78-35 266th Street
Floral Park, New York
Larri Richmond
1139 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Beth Sullivan Herren
P.O. Box 991
Trumansburg, NY
Don Crittenden
173 Bundy Road
Ithaca, New York
Stephen Boss
27 North Street
Camillus, NY
austin jennifer
840 North Aurora St.
Ithaca, NY
Jerrod Ellison
219 M Elston Rd
VanEtten, NY
Gail O'Neill-Merchant
100 Veterans Dr.
Painted Post, New York
Christina Kramer
1114A River Court
Charlottesville, Virginia
Lisey Good
136 Arlington Street
Boston, MA
Constance Walters
7185 Frank Long Rd
Jamesville, NY
K Markowski
POB 246
Trumansburg, NY
Cynthia DeFelice
5283 North Kashong Point
Geneva, NY
Gary Ostrander
29 Lyon St
Bath, `New York
Regi Teasley
201 Cliff Park Rd
Ithaca, NY
Robin Soto
171 Boylan Rd
Newfield , NY
Jenifer Paquette
281 W Third St
Corning, NY
Renee Haers
843 Cress Rd
Phelps, NY
Marion J Karl
24 Mill Street
Cooperstown,, NY
Pat Roberts
134 Powderhouse Road
Vestal, NY
Paul Lisseck
158 High Street
Amherst, MA
Gary McCaslin
130 West Water Street
Painted Post, NY
Susan Link
16 Elm st
Binghamton, NY
Dana Patterson
New Green Media
206 Tyler Road
Edison, New Jersey
Jerry Feist
222 South Albany Street
Ithaca, NY
Robert Spiegel
Edison Wetlands Association
206 Tyler Road
Edison, New Jersey
David Wheeler
Wild New Jersey
206 Tyler Road
Edison, New Jersey
Mary Dominick
4383 Belleflower Circle
Syracuse, New York
Candace Shoemaker
701 Highland Road
Ithaca, NY
Lee Haskins
7431 County Route 14
Bath, New York
Gail Kershner
109 E. 2nd Street
New York, NY
Judith Lockwood
3891 Stevens Road
Marcellus, NY
Christine Murney
18 South Morrell Avenue
Geneva, NY
Joan Sharp
3 Brooklands Apt 5E
Bronxville, NY
Kate Halliday
447 Tupper Road
Newfield, NY
Mary Gordon
126 Ayrault Road
Fairport, NY
David Sibley
353 Snyder Hill Road
Ithaca, New York
Carol Kaufman
651 Reservoir Hill Rd.
Candor, New York
Barbara Rubin
280 Ninth Ave. 12D
New York, N.Y.
varya siegel
307 dey street
ithaca, ny
Amanda Carreiro
130 Carl Becker House
Ithaca, New York
debbie benzer
714 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca , NY
Roberto Steed
414W 121st Street #62
New York, NY
Stephen Emlen
119 Eastlake Road
Ithaca, NY
Clare Greene
1031 Taughannock Blvd.
Ithaca, NY
Christopher Landriau
279 1st Street Apt. 4B
Brooklyn, New York
thomas burkart
149 piper rd
newfield, ny