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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

John and Sue Gregoire
Kestrel Haven Avian Migration Observatory
5373 Fitzgerald Rd
Burdett, NY
Frank Zgola
1140 Ellis Hollow Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Justin Ehrlich
142 Giles st.
Ithaca, NY
clare grady
ithaca catholic worker
201 elm st.
ithaca, ny
Weldon Smith
10 Wheeler Ave.
Cortland, NY
Clarissa Farrell
5858 Stillwell Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Larysa Dyrszka
124 Chapin Trail
White Lake, NY
Wayne Lynch
Catharine Cottages
2025 State Route 14
Montour Falls, NY
Peter Moffa
self employed environmental engineer, NYPE
102 Orchard Dr.
Skaneateles, N.Y.
Rose Mackiewicz
1773 Teedlebrook Road
Jefferson, New York
Peter Comstock
Town of Lumberland Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment
428 Hollow Rd.
Glen Spey, NY
Deborah Jones
3166 Perry City Road
Trumansburg, NY
Nicholas Sledziona
304 Winston Drive
Ithaca, NY
20 Arundel Road
Buffalo, NY
Jane Penrose
24 Elm St., #2-12
Trumansburg, NY
Jane Bonacci
71 Snell Rd.
Geneva, NY
Rosemary Hancock
14205 Keuka Village Rd.
Dundee, NY
morrie sarfaty
4816 county road 5
hall, ny
April Leggett
116 Afton Lake Rd
Afton, New York
Kay Thomas
4979 County Road 26
Dundee, NY
Barbara Striley
2088 rte 26 16/b
Endicott, NY
Bob Asta
214 Wood St.
Ithaca, NY
Abram Loeb
571 St. John Rd. Apt A
Afton, ny
Fred Sonnenfeld
736 S. Main St.
Geneva, New York
andra nichols
75 state street
skanrateles, new york
Karen Rothfuss
Concerned Citizens of Seneca County
43 W River St
Waterloo, NY
Marvin Mastrangelo
3204 Briarcliff Avenue
Vestal, NY
Elizabeth Handler
505 E Seneca Tpke
Syracuse, New York
Robert FitzGerald
Finger Lakes Zero Waste, Inc.
1047 Castle Rd.
Geneva, NY
Duane Diviney
230 Valley Road
Ithaca, NY
Mark Kuebel
402 W. 148th St #42
New York, NY
andrew tolen
106 Great Brook Apts
Victor, NY
Brendan Murphy
2757 West Lydius St.
Schenectady , NY
noah wallace
1139 ellis hollow rd
ithaca, ny
Jeffrey Juran
2500 W. Danby Rd.
Spencer, New York
Nancy Lee Russell
161 Mott Street, #5
New York, NY
John Burns
8048 Lookout Point
Ovid, NY
Sandra Van Schaack
432 West Lake Road
Oswego, NY
Jessic Richards
17 Wales Dr
Norwich, NY
karen morean
8006 CR 153
Interlaken, NY
Judy Freilicher
7207 High Bridge Road
Cuyler, New York
Stan Scobie
37 Oconnell Rd
Binghamton, NY
Alicia Kinloch
628 East 11th St 2B
New York, NY
lynne farrow
po box 1567
amagansett, NY
Katherine Coville
116 Scottholm Terrace
Syracuse, New York
Michael Gorr
8 Deer Run
Skaneateles, NY
Thomas Herman
216 Dey St.
Ithaca, NY
Carol Farkas
Twin Tiers Five Rivers Federation of Fly Fishers
110 Drake Road
Lansing, NY
Amanda Martinez
United for Action
3 Washington Square Village, Apt. 16 A
New York, New York
Mary Trochim
200 Forest Home Drive
Ithaca, NY
sarah Locke
738 Elm St.
Ithaca, NY
3279 hayden rd
marietta, ny
david Mountin
738 Elm St.
Ithaca, NY
John Tavares
2192 Mecklenburg Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Emily Tavares
2192 Mecklenburg Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Abigail Tavares
2192 Mecklenburg Rd.
Ithaca, NY
carol pouliot
223 county route 10
pennellville, ny
Carolyn Tavares
2192 Mecklenburg Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Andrew Tavares
2192 Mecklenburg Rd.
Ithaca, NY
John D Tavares
2192 Mecklenburg Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Robert H. Boyle
Roaring Brook Farm, 428 Briar Hill Road,
Cooperstown, New York
tom marion
1779 Madison Ave. apt. 202
New York, NY
Steve Anagnostos
378 Thomas Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Kathryn Belous-Boyle
Roaring Brook Farm, 428 Briar Hill Road
Cooperstown, New York
Gabriel DeJoseph
P.O. box 482
Unadilla, NY
Frederick Bertram
4276 State Route 21
Canandaigua, NY
Rebecca Jordan
3225 Grand Ave
Leavenworth, KS
Barbara Harman
6962 St. Hwy 80
Cooperstown, NY
Nancy VanCleave
5754 Seeley Road
Cayuta, New York
Evelyn Loewen
40 Laurel Ave
Binghamton, NY
Evan Romer
51 Chestnut St
Windsor, NY
John Fry
Beaver Dam Sanctuary
23 East Lake Drive
Katonah, NY
Robbie Sanders
920 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY
harold kugelmass
3233 county road#143
interlaken, ny
Linda Billingsley
58-10 Hewlett Street
Little Neck, NY
Kathryn Slining Haynes
11 Madison St.
Geneva, NY
William Tendy
62 East Main Street
Wappingers Falls, NY
Meghan Reiff
1243 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY
ej George
6301 Searsburg Road
Trumsansburg, NY
Graves Ray
32 Gulf Hill Road (Box319)
McLean, NY
Joseph Cambridge
Twin Tiers Five Rivers FFF
110 Drake Road
Lansing, NY
Marlene Sack
708 Hector Street
Ithaca, NY
Frank Miosek
159 Kraham Rd.
Cooperstown, NY
Lazarus Boutis
122 Old Briarcliff Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY
Morgan Lyle
621 6th Street
East Northport, NY
Aaron Dennis
6301 Searsburg Road
Trumansburg, NY
Kimberly Berney-Brooke
457 15th Street, 4A
Brooklyn, NY
Marc Heller
PO Box 71
Cooperstown, NY
Caroline Favre-Gilly Law
202 West 78th Street
New York, New York
Yvonne Lucia
4011 Saddlemire Road
Binghamton, NY
Ian Law
3647 Broadway
New York, New York
Matthew Sanaker
677 Cobb St
Groton, NY
Walter Ditman
35-36 80th St., #32
Jackson Heights, NY
Rosemarie Arsi-Harrison
Springfield Advocates
P.O. Box 162
Cherry Valley, N.Y.
Vishal Bhagwandas
310 Bryant Ave. Apt. 2
Ithaca, New York
Joseph Readling
4011 Saddlemire Rd
Binghamton, ny
Nancy Siegele
543 Elm St.
Ithaca, NY
Christopher Brown
1964 Hollister Hill Road
Delhi, NY
Diane Bonaccorsi
580 Nelson Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Allen Carstensen
23 Strowbridge St
Trumansburg, NY
Lucille Wiggin
Crumhorn Lake Association
80 Chestnut St
Oneonta, NY
Kendrick Pangman
Question Everything
4 Orange St.
Marcellus, NY
Barbara L Heller
40 High Street
Afton, NY
Annamarie Patelunas
400 E, Campville Rd.
Endicott, NY
Robert Gosselink
600 Dodge Lodge Rd
Warnerville, NY
Margaret Hill
P.O.Box 3709
Poughkeepsie, NY
Eleanor Gaccione
244 Schermerhorbn Road
New Berlin, NY
Kelly Serbonich
2808 N. Triphammer Rd.
Ithaca, Ny
David Gislason
540 Trumbull Corners Rd.
Newfield, NY
Bethany McGee
Enfield Neighbors For Safe Air And Water (ENSAW)
173 Tucker Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Amanda Fey
1521 Coddington Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Julien Fey
1521 Coddington Rd
Brooktondale, NY
ron wish
112 highmount
nyack, NY
Margaret Caraberis
81 South Main St
PIttsford, NY
Alicia Wittink
512 Highland Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Jill Lewis
Seneca Lake Pure Water Organization
1 S Wheaton Rd
Horseheads, NY
Anne Forbes
297 Washington st
Geneva, Ny
peg johnston
17 Schubert St.
Binghamton, NY
Elizabeth Thomas
3406 Gorge Road
Trumansburg, New York