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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

nancy bolton
615 cascadilla street
ithaca, ny
Ann Carpenter
192 South Van Dorn Road
Ithaca, New York
Elaina McCartney
845 Taughannock Blvd.
Ithaca, NY
Linda Lenhardt
2529 state rt 174
marietta, NY
Patricia Remmell
7118 County Rd. 2
Bloomfield, New York
Jeri Haldeman
22521 County Route 69
Rodman, NY
Joanne Corey
209 Lewis St
Vestal, NY
Susan Sullivan
CMP D/A Commission
7878 SR 52
Narrowsburg, NY
thomas redding
3126 co hwy 11
hartwick, ny
kathy redding
3126 co hwy 11
hartwick, ny
Karen Robinson
2534 Rt. 215
Cortland, N.Y.
v mulford
417 warren st
hudson, new york
Marie Terlizzi
512 Seely Hill Rd.
Newfield, NY
Robert Dobbs
512 Seely Hill Rd.
Newfield, NY
Glenn Mac Donald
122 Duncke; rd
Oxford, NY
Kathie Arnold
Twin Oaks Dairy LLC, Cortland County Legislature
3175 State Route 13
Truxton, NY
Christina Mead
306 Elm St.
Ithaca, NY
Marcia Knapp
8274 Kellogg St.
Clinton, NY
Jeb Mead
306 Elm St.
Ithaca, NY
Kelly Branigan
Cedar Ridge Realty
467 Springfield Hill Road
Cooperstown, New York
Eric Bravin
Otsego Land Trust
242 Towers Road
Milford, NY
Jim Bromka
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Inc.
41 W. Main St.
Waterloo, NY
Brad Walrod
5587 State Route 52
Kenoza Lake, NY
Martha Duke
2667 County Hwy 35
Schenevus, New York
Nina Sklansky
Friends of Hudson
18 Liberty St.
Catskill, NY
Richard Mandl
229 Stone Quarry Road
Ithaca, NY
cheri sheridan
concerned citizen
2179 parks road
cortland, ny
Deborah Cowell Mandl
229 Stone Quarry Road
Ithaca, NY
Sharon Hujik
261 Burdick Road
Milford, NY
Angelika Rashkow
Greenough Rd
Cooperstown, NY
Dorothy Hartz
POB 74 115 Nelson Road
Fremont Center, NY
frederick klock
367 andersen hill rd.
berkshire, ny
Judith Pierpont
111 Pleasant Hollow Rd.
Freeville, NY
Ron Pollero
115 Nelson Road
Fremont Center, NY
David DeGraff
5706 Oak Ridgen Ln
Alfred Station, Ny
Roberta Wallitt
Coddington Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Ed Brothers
3 Sunset West
Ithaca, NY
Hugh MacDougall
Otsego 2000
8 Lake Street
Cooperstown, NY
Michael Branigan
467 Springfield Hill Rd
Cooperstown, New York
Emily Sorel
2498 Slaterville Road
Slaterville Springs, New York
Garrison H. Davidson, Jr.
338 Savage Farm Dr
Ithaca, NY
Michael Cortright
133 Taras Shevchenko
Glen Spey, New York
Thomas Peterson
60 So. Main St.
Alfred, New York
Melanie Steinberg
The Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes
302 Clinton Street
Penn Yan, NY
David Jordan
216 First St
Ithaca, Ny
Lee Jamison
18 Riverview St
Stuyvesant, NY
Tara Sumner
Otsego 2000 Board, Advocates for Springfield Vice President
PO Box 302
Springfield Center, NY
Patricia Flannery
54 D3wey St.
Clinton, MA
William Elsey
107 Bartlett Road
Cooperstown, NY
Mary Craig
PO Box 299
Masonville, NY
Debra Rich
649 Valley road
Brooktondale, NY
Nicholas Cunningham MD
Columbia University
Box 16, 456 Public Landing Rd
Springfield Center, NY
Maureen Kelly
250 Schroon Hill Road
kerhonkson, ny
Rev. Jody Kessler
105 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Alice Zinnes
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability; NYH20
457 15th St. #5D
Brooklyn, NY
Eleanore MacDougall
8 Lake Street
Cooperstown, New York
Dorothy Hudson
Sustainable Otsego, LWVNY, Action Otsego
44 Nelson Avenue
Cooperstown, New York
Carole Williams
36 Van Kuren Drive
Binghamton, NY
Keith Werkman
1136 Greenwood Glen
Endwell, NY
Eric London, MD
Sullivan Area Residents for Responsible Energy Development (SACRED)
PO Box 913, 328 Woodstone Trail
Smallwood, NY
Anita Margulis
PO Box 913
Smallwood, NY
Nancy Chapman
7215 Jacksonville Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Rachel London
PO Box 913
Smallwood, NY
Larraine McNulty
Upper Unadilla Valley Association
156 Pritchard Road
West Winfield, NY
thomas campbell
fitzgerald rd.
trumansburg, ny
Michael O'Brien
400 West 23 St.
New York, NY
Joan Farber
400 West 23 St.
New York, NY
Valerie Jackson
258 Nelson Rd
South New Berlin, NY
Sarah Lafferty
855 40th St.
Brooklyn, NY
Matt Huber
3191 Pepperwood Bend
Marcellus, NY
Christina La Barre
FAmily Nurse Practioner
28 Maple Street
Cooperstown, New York
Julie Desch
P.O. Box 162 (793 Kings Hwy)
Mount Marion, NY
Robert Love
Longhouse Cooperative, Inc.
770 Elm Street
Ithaca, NY
TiA Gorup-Combs
1742 Great Gully Rd
Union Springs, NY
Elizabeth Tilley
1200 Cornell Ave
Binghamton, NY
Richard Thomas
Otisco Lake Preservation
139 Alanson Rd
Syracuse, NY
Bruce Medanich
109 Lord Lane
S. New Berlin, New York
Judy Van Put
1184 Old Route 17
Livingston Manor, New York
Bruce MacDuffie
173 Manwarren Rd.
Oxford, New York
ellen w wierhite
111 christian hill road
cooperstown, new york
Enid Futterman
661 Route 23
Craryville, NY
Karen Charikofsky
60 Neversink Drive
Port Jervis, New York
Glenn Tunstull
627 Route 23
Craryville, NY
amanda trienens
385 punsit rd
chatham, ny
Joan Cain
29 Drake Rd
Newfield, NY
Laurie Fiederlein
Neighbors for Claverack
115 Gahbauer Road
Hudson, New York
Elizabeth Sinsapaugh
67 Town View Drive
Wappingers Falls, NY
Robert Johnsrud
310 Monroe St
Ithaca, NY
Sandra Austin
9 Wells Ave.
Hartwick, New York
Jeremy Crytzer
8202 Route 96
Interlaken, NY
Erica Crytzer
8202 Route 96
Interlaken, NY
Sasha Herbert
276 Cypress St.
Rochester, NY
Charles Thuma
163 Heritage Circle
Oneonta, New York
Edward Brodzinsky
790 County Highway 34
Schenevus, NY
Carol Bobertz
4 Sunrise Terrace
Trumansburg, ny
Norman Mintz
130 Hilltop Road
Germantown, New York
Mary Brodzinsky
790 County Highway 34
Schenevus, NY
Gretchen Herrmann
433 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, NY
Robin Mill
73 Patt Ave
Staten Island, NY
Susan DiNatale
86 Boyd Road
Jeffersonville, NY
Ben Altman
Danby Gas Drilling Task Force
1041 Comfort Road
Spencer, NY
Julia Dalton
101 W. 80th Street
New York, NY
Joseph DiNatale
86 Boyd Road
Jeffersonville, ny
Judith Schneider
131 WEst 24th Street
new york, new York
Barbara Lipski
140 Nassau St
New York, NY
Chris Williamson
416 rosehaven Dr.
Raleigh, NC
Deborah Hunt
2410 Dunk Hill Rd
Walton, NY
Dene Karaus
Lamoka-Waneta Lakes Association
4250 Windwood Rd
Tyrone, NY
Carol Marion
55 N. Applegate Rd.
Ithaca, NY
isen robbins
85 devoe st
ny, ny
kurt nelson
727 Dimmock Hill Road
binghamton, ny
Darith Gruszka
3 Londonderry Lane
Owego, New York
jesse green
466 Hart st.
Brooklyn, NY
Barry Gridley
3549 Fords Brook Road
Wellsville, New York
Laurie Fendrich
P.O. Box 138
Callicoon Center, New York
jill metcoff-jahns
E7371 Troy Village rd
Spring Green, WI
Jorge Cuevas
721 Five Mile Drive
Ithaca, NY
Peter Morrison
ADK & TU, resident citizen property owner
1425 Thickett Rd.
Castleton, New York
Edwin C Fry
45 Moseman Ave
Katonah, NY
Terry Thomas
489 Midline Road
Freevilee, NY