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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

Jim Kosinski
Learn LLC
PO Box 540
Cherry Valley, NY
Barbara Morris
8450 Gallagher Road
Hammondsport, NY
Robert Rhodes
Preserve Ramapo
26 Sky Meadow Road
Suffern, New York
Constance Pierce
11 Conti Ct
Binghamton, NY
Candace Coates
P.O. Box 432
Hopewell Junction, New York
white Feather curtiss
pO Box 1426
olivebridge, NY
Catherine Rossiter
124 Southwood Drive
Vestal, NY
Erin Hobson
288 Linden Ave
Red Hook, NY
Ann Ellis
2140 Long Creek Road
Apalachin, NY
Nancy Pickut
23 Chapman Street
Jamestown, NY
Miranda Rice
3333 S Hill Road
Montour Falls, NY
Ross Rice
8 Mountain Rd. #2
Rosendale, NY
Roy Bartoo
103 Woodview Lane
Morris, NY
Gerald Heaton
4966 Coe Rd
Cazenovia, NY
Mary Heffner
115 E. Falls St.
Ithaca, NY
Brewster Chase
252 Etna Rd
Ithaca, NY
Ann Dolan
69 Cansawacta St.
Norwich, NY
Nicole Heaton
600 Oakwood Street
Fayetteville, NY
Mary Lee
9183 Booth Road
Trumansburg, NY
Charles Hendrickson
Parkview-Johnson Coalition
186 Parkview Dr
Harpursville, New York
Shannon McSurely
316 Turner Place
Ithaca, NY
Suzanne McMannis
Earthwalk Farm
246 Bone Plain Rd.
Freeville, New York
Lynn McMannis
P.O. Box 4174
Ithaca, New York
Chuck Gibson
13 Ahern Avenue
Troy, NY
Anne Gibson
13 Ahern Avenue
Troy, NY
Phil Hendrickson
154 Mc Fall Rd
Apalachin, NY
Paul Baumann
101 Oak St
Brooklyn, NY
Joan-Marie Bauman
106 Rupp Road
Monticello, New York
Gerty Bataille
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Paltrok 44
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
robert dyer
Otisco Lake Community Association
6 Lakeside Terrace
Marietta, New York
Debra Lewis
640 Linden Street
Rochester, NY
andrea gomez
87 dobbin st
brooklyn, ny
Marilyn R Chase Chase
252 Etna Rd
Ithaca, Y
Benjamin George-Hinnant
93 Ellis Hollow Creek RD
Ithaca , New York
John and Christa Cadorette
786 Jones road
vestal, NY
Teresa Florack
400 Lodi St
Syracuse, NY
Allan Goldhammer
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
570 Main St.
Kingston, NY
james zurn
668 rhodes rd.
apalachin, ny
Donna Tarbania
7 Collin Avenue
Fayetteville, NY
elaine zurn
668 rhodes rd.
apalachin, ny
Ryan Cabral
14191 keuka village rd
dundee, NY
Devon Zurn
668 rhodes rd
apalachin , ny
Sita Sanders
2704 Kelso Rd
East Meredith, NY
Norman Condit
346 Taylor Street
Staten Island, NY
Sara Schaffzin
313 Utica Street
Ithaca, New York
David Larsen
Twin Tiers Five Rivers Federation of Fly Fishers
4485 Frost Hill Road
Montour Falls, New York
Jane Higgins
60 Bloom St., P.O. Box 12
Gilbertsville, NY
James Haggerty
PO Box 13
walton, NY
Lisa Mattes
320 Lillian Ave., Syracuse, NY 13206
Syracuse, NY
Gretchen Pingel
166 Midland Avenue
Bronxville, New York
Tony Ingraham
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Pineo
9074 Chidsey Hill Road
Elmira, New York
Frank Gage
Frank Action Buffalo
87 Erb St.
Buffalo, New York
Wayne Wells
Cameron Committee for a Safe Environment (CCSE)
4304 Lewis rd
Cameron Mills, NY
Louise Hertz
West Shore Homeowners' Association
1119 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, NY
Jill Wiener
PO Box 198
Callicoon Center, NY
Alexander Neill, Jr.
746 Gospel Hill Road
Guilford, NY
Heriberto Rodriguez
Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy C-CARE
533 County Hwy 18
Mount Upton, NY
Misha Cohen
211 highland pkwy
rochester, ny
Louis Allstadt
18 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY
Rachel Minklei
206 E. Marshall St.
Ithaca, NY
Paul Robillard
World Water Watch
955 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 349
Cambridge, MA
Diane + Dave Tremaine
1360 Hornby Rd
Beaver Dams, NY
Robert Seeley
85 Starks Road
Newfield, New York
katharine dawson
democratic party
1008 gospel hill road
guilford, new york
Mark Sandrock
760 Jones Road
Vestal, NY
Aimee Heavey
271 Ridgefield Rd
Endicott, NY
Kerry Cubas
PO Box 303
Bearsville, NY
Sarah Rice
PO Box 885, 9732 Route 96
Trumansburg, NY
William Russell
112 Auburn St
Ithaca, NY
Evan Hallas
166 Bald Hill Rd.
Spencer, NY
Marybeth Dougherty
3738 Peas Eddy Rd.
Hancock, NY
Rachel Dickinson
31 Main Street P.O. Box 341
Freeville, NY
Sheila Cohen
GDACC (Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County)
209 Groton Ave.
Cortland, NY
Leslie Potter
People for a Health Environment; Sierra Club; League of Women Voters of NY
223 Fairview Rd.
Erin, NY
Howard Weinblatt
2684 Kenyonville Rd.
Albion, NY
denise nosewicz
3 thomas rd
newfield, ny
Russell Charif
79 Besemer Rd
Ithaca, NY
Karina Naumer
102 Clay St. #4
Brooklyn, NY
Christa Bissell
137 Pine Tree Rd
Ithaca, NY
Judy Abrams
Concerned Citizens of Ulysses
1679 Taughannock Blvd
Trumansburg, NY
Timothy Murray
Tompkins County Democratic Committee
2262 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, New York
Peter Cramer
13 James St
Auburn, NY
john nosewicz
3 thomas rd
newfield, ny
Sherman Kelly
Concerned Citizens of Ulysses
1679 Taughannock Blvd
Trumansburg, NY
Leslie Strebel
117 Roat Street
Ithaca, NY
bob mcguire
Cayuga Bird Club (current president)
46 whitted rd
ithaca, NY
john miller
professor emeritus cornell university
298 bald hill road
brooktondale , NY
Scott Humphrey
Green Party of Poughkeepsie, NY
32 Bain Avenue
Poughkeepsie, New York
Marcia Skalnik
28 Elm Street
Trumansburg, New York
Mark Shenstone
123 buck hill rd
trumansburg, ny
maria ross
17 artist ln.
saugerties, ny
Lisa Dusenberry
134 Westhaven Road
Ithaca, NY
Mary Thorpe
1220 Langford Creek Road
Van Etten, NY
jean hricik
40 4th st.
johnson city, ny
Robert Case
126 Central Ave.
Keuka Park, New York
Kathleen Bawel
7888 Strutt Street
Wayland, NY
Fayal Greene
247 Union Street
Hudson, NY
Miriam Greenberger
205 east 77th street #4d
new York city, New York
Perry Slack
1899 Gee Hill Rd
Dryden, NY
Christopher Reed
59 Main Street
Philmont, NY
Chip Gagnon
504 Utica St
Ithaca, NY
Andrew Yale
330 Elm Street
Ithaca, NY
Steven Ross
PO Box 132
Red Hook, NY
Julie Parisi Kirby
36 Purdy Hollow Road
Woodstock, NY
Stefan Lutter
University of Vermont
45 Elm Street
Trumansburg, NY
Karen McMahon
4635 Glencliffe Rd
Manlius, ny
Louise Mudrak
693 Coddington Road
Ithaca, NY
Janine Nichols
44 Prospect Park West #F5
Brooklyn, NY
Chip Northrup
17 River
Cooperstown , NY
Janice Pegels
37 Stacy Dr
Binghamton, NY
Marjorie Kellogg
Franklin Local
205 Sanly Road
Sidney Center, NY
Bruce Beem-Miller
206 Richard Pl.
Ithaca, NY
Karen London
Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development
PO Box 913, 328 Woodstone Trail
Smallwood, NY
Roque Ristorucci
United Federation of Teachers
100 Sterling Pl., Apt. 4J
Brooklyn, New York
Kathy Shimberg
Box 562
Mt. Vision, NY
Matthew Jacobs
211 Bates Ave
Oneida, NY
David Ritchie
160 Crescent Place
Ithaca, NY
Marie McRae
Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition
710 Irish Settlement Rd
Freeville, NY
Christy Rupp
133 w 24 st
nyc, ny