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

Barbara Page
41 Prospect St
Trumansburg, NY
Mary Menapace
1546 Coon Hill Road
Skaneateles , NY
Eve P Smith
103 Birch Creek Rd
Pine Hill, NY
Diane Skalny Campbell
900 Powderhouse Road
Binghamton, NY
Elizabeth Lerner
112 32nd Street
Lindenhurst, NY
Marie LoParco
2604 Carson Rd.
Cortland, NY
Da vid Smith
103 Birch Creek Road
Pine Hill, NY
Joseph Daily
786 Jones Road
Vestal, NY
Amy Whitney
920 Snyder Hill Road
Ithaca, NY
Adam Flint
Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition
1006 Powderhouse Road
Vestal, NY
Janet Koenig
280 Riverside Drive #3E
New York, NY
Marlene Rubins
144-38 Union Turnpike 7C
Flushing, NY
Alan Vogel
P.O. Box 166
Trumansburg, NY
Claire Cortright
133 Taras Schevchenko Road
Glen Spey, NY
Eric Loeb
40 Front Street, Suite 1K
Binghamton, New York
Kim Michels
619 Sprague Road
Afton, New York
Alice Ross
377 Skipperene Road
Narrowsburg, New York
Pam Daly
178 Pinewood Road, Apt. 47
Hartsdale, NY
Lori Hoepner
677 Argyle Road
Brooklyn, NY
yolanda reiff
1447 signal ave
san diego , ca
lori yelensky
114 crescent place
ithaca, ny
Judith Eda
228 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Brian Caldwell
180 Walding Lane
West Danby, NY
Ilse Funk
Otsego 2000
238 Mill Rd
Cherry Valley, NY
Jean Sappell
542 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, NY
Judy Kugelmass
3233 County Road 143
Interlaken, NY
Maxine Rosenberg
10 Whiting Way
Conklin, NY
Neil Zusman
214 N. Plain St.
Ithaca, NY
Ram Venkat
607 Mitchell St
Ithaca, NY
marjory martin
321 columbia street
ithaca, new york
Joshua Hatcher
321 Columbia Street
Ithaca, NY
Lisa Kledzik
504 utica st
ithaca, ny
Judith Rothenberg
1703 Coddington Rd.
Brooktondale, NY
Kenneth Fogarty
Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy C-CARE
746 Gospel Hill Road
Guilford, NY
Arthur Godin
GodinGreen, LLC
96 Woodard Road
Newfield, NC
Win Olsen
39 west 83rd St,
Yvonne Fisher
1042 Comfort Road
Spencer, NY
stacey mcneill
811 North Tioga Street Apt B
Ithaca, NY
Robert Lofthouse
Broome Community College
525 W Buffalo St
Ithaca, NY
Diane Farnham
4102 Garrett Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Raube
21 Lathrop Avenue
Binghamton, NY
patty heffley
511 west 20th st
New York, NY
Jennifer Wofford
54 Cayuga St
Trumansburg, NY
Steve Michels
619 Sprague Road
Afton, NY
Pamela Noonan
pob 371
Cherry Valley, New York
sharye skinner
4522 syracuse RD
Amy Peters
Sustainable Sea Cliff Cooperative
45 Harwood Dr E
Glen Cove, NY
Doug Couchon
109 Foster Avenue
Elmira, New York
Robert Suskind
14 Wheeler Terace
Marietta, New York
Gregory Bohner
509 Twist Run Rd
Endwell, NY
Susan Wiener
Energy Savvy Consulting
PO Box 24
Trumansburg, NY
Nathan Couchon
3272 38th Street
Astoria, NY
Daniel Henderson
6128 SE Reedway St.
Portland, OR
Alice Bartholomew
415 Wall Street
Elmira, NY
Jessica Hatch
7114 Freret St, Apt E
New Orleans, LA
Camille Doucet
38 Marsh Rd
Ithaca, NY
marissa joseph
14 Maple St. apt.3
Oneonta, NY
Sarah Steuteville
824 N. Aurora St.
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Yetzer
205 Cliff Park Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Brown
1870 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY
Mark Bowers
59 Rotary Avenue
Binghamton, New York
Kathryn Tunison
178 Tucker Road
Trumansburg, NY
Allan Ulrich
2427 Co Hwy 31
Cherry Valley, New York
Donald Recklies
Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
420 4th Avenue #1
Brooklyn, New York
Lawrence Stein
7426 State Route 17c
Endicott, NY
Florence Girao
1407 Half Moon Bay Drive
Croton on Hudson , New York
Teresa Michel
1849 Honoco Rd.
Aurora, NY
Erin Heaton
Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy
40 Sarles Street
Armonk, NY
William Meyer
40 Sarles Street
Armonk, NY
Fred Gros
904 N Tioga Street
Ithaca, NY
Donna Joseph
7699 Cty. Rte. 13
Bath, NY
Matthew Spano
811 North Tioga St. Apt. B
Ithaca, Ny
Kristen Nygren M.D.
101 Rachel Carson Way
Carol Painter
141 West Haven Rd
Ithaca, NY
laura horvath
394 Vanderwerker road
cherry valley, ny
Deanna France
309 Bundy Ave.
Endwell, NY
Kathleen Belmont
33 Croft Road
Poughkeepsie, New York
Gary Belmont
33 Croft Road
Poughkeepsie, New York
William Lynch
PO Box 294
Tyrone, NY
Carl Applegate
3187 Clute Rd.
Cortland, NY
Carolyn Klass
36 Comfort Road
Ithaca, NY
Royal Colle
121 Pine Tree Road
Ithaca, NY
Michael Kane
472 Monkey Run Rd.
Port Crane, NY
Colleen Clune
288 Groton Rd
Freeville, NY
Patrick Sewell
166 Crescent Place
Ithaca, New York
J. Abele
233 Smith Rd
Worcester, NY
Cliffen Hagen
Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
424 Beach Rd
Staten Island, New York
Georgia Hancock
3512 3rd St N
Arlington, VA
Harvey Waldman
215 West 88th Street, #4F
New York, NY
Jean-Claude Darne
661 Sterling Place
Brooklyn, NY
alvia golden
420 E. 51st St.
New York, NY
Debra Rovitz
215 Buff Road
Cochecton, NY
Kristin Colbert
304 Comstock Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Natalie Vaynberg
32-72 38th street
Astoria, NY
Sherry Eaton
115 Washington St
Binghamton, New York
Nancy Lee
6003 State Route 26
Whitney Point, NY
William Lee
6003 State Route 26
Whitney Point, NY
Helen Jane Kaufman
57 Hillview Dr
Norwich, NY
Stanley Scharf
214 South Hill Terrace
Ithaca, NY
Norman Kaufman
57 Hillview Dr
Norwich, NY
Chris McHugh
335 Moriches Rd
St. James, NY
janet runcie
p.o. box 163
oxford, new york
Joan Brustowicz
58 Henry Street
Norwich, New York
lynn phillips
114 W 14th St
new york, ny
Randall Hatcher
321 columbia street
Ithaca, NY
Ed Van Put
1184 Old Route 17
Livingston Manor, New York
Brooks Magee
15 Dosoris Way
Glen Cove, NY
Sarah Gagnon
2353 spencer Road
West Danby, New York
Ellen Lane
104 Halcyon Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
J.C. Frieswyk
409 East Lincoln Street
Ithaca, New York
Marilyn Gold
1923 Fish Hollow Road
Walton, NY
E. Louis Priem
276 Van Yahres Rd
Cooperstown, NY
Chris Barbeisch
1653 State Hwy 41
Afton, NY
Linda Couchon
109 Foster Ave
Elmira, NY
Christina Countryman
Walk About Water
15 Rast Rd
Shokan, NY
Barbara Lyon
1123 County Highway 26
Fly Creek, NY
Dr. Linda Gasser
804 Cayuga Heights Rd
Ithaca, NY
claudia mang
8407 17th avenue
brooklyn, new york
Eric Stromswold
47 Bald Hill Rd
Spencer, NY
Angela O'Neill
6965 Route 89
Ovid, NY