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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

Jonathan Fabricant
385 Tenth Street
Brooklyn,, NY
Patricia Matteson
730 Mohonk Road
High Falls, NY
eileen kline
609 Monroe Road
delhi, nY
Virginia Martin
540 Joslen Blvd. #209
Hudson, NY
Betty K. Aberlin
7 Morton St. #17
New York, NY
Roxana Lehmann-Haupt
PO Box 365
Germantown, NY
Annemarie Hosnedl
sustainable Otsego
274 River St.
Oneonta, NY
Nancy Garniez
949 West End Ave. #11C
New York, NY
Suzanne Etherington
29 Cedar Street
Cortland, New York
Michael Brisson
76 Westland Ave.
Rochester, NY
Rebecca Weil
322 Oriole Road
Cooperstown, NY
Ronald Krieg
614 S. Plain St.
Ithaca, NY
Gianni Ortiz
FarmAssist Productions
57 Spring St.
Chatham, NY
John Bennett
PO Box 556
Unadilla, NY
Donna Volpone
33 Bellehurst Drive
Rochester, New York
Patricia Borowiec
177 Argonne Drive
Kenmore, NY
David Kauber
3080 Rt. 90
Aurora, New York
Kim Weeks
30 Lawrence Hill Rd.
Accord, New York
Mary Lewis
a Sullivan County farmer
211 Weissman Road
Callicoon Center, N.Y.
valerie mansi
DCS, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Citizens for Clean Energy
8 W 90 St Apt 7
Virginia Marques
208 Duboise Rd.
Ithaca, ny
Edward L Corey
2160 Bronx Park East
Bronx, NY
Lynn Thurston
6907 Walton Point
Naples, NY
Anne Rhodes
Dryden Solution
91 Ed Hill Rd.
Freeville, NY
Christian Sweningsen
18 Riverview St
Stuyvesant, NY
Mary Worth
504 East Lake Road
Penn Yan, NY
Esther Miller Barnowsky
228 Smith Cross Rd
Cooperstown, NY
Cynthia Andela
Richfield Springs Planning Board
776 Co Hwy 24
Richfield Springs, NY
Victoria Jordan
146 Coddington Road
Ithaca,, NY
LaBerta McGruder
201 Center St Apt 2
Ithaca, NY
james cashen
73 Roxbury Road, Hudson, Ny 12534
Hudson, NY
Carolyn Stern
PO Box 569
Philmont, NY
kelley ryan
2417 otisco valley rd
marietta, ny
Ann Bussiere
9327 State Highway 30
Downsville, NY
Pat konecky
50 Plaza St E
Brooklyn, New York
Shane Bussiere
9327 State Highway 30
Downsville, NY
Susan and Jerome Routek
592 Canterbury Lane
Oneonta, NY
Robert Witkowski
43 Old Rt 208
New Paltz, NY
Yvette Akel
366 Park Avenue
Binghamton, New York
John Pavlou
Bellevue Av N
Yonkers, NY
Patricia Thorpe
P.O. Box 146
Cooperstown, NY
Catherine Jones
3104 Smith Rd.
Hamilton, NY
Fran Markover
1568 Slaterville Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Kathleen Garcia
61 South Kashong Drive
Geneva, New York
Sandra Steingraber
Ithaca College
14 bradley Street
trumansburg, nY
Allan Hochberg, Ph.D.
705 Old Lane Road Vestal
Vestal, New York
Maggie Pitkin
4360 McIntyre Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Joey Gates
6045 Maple Ave.
Mecklenburg, NY
Roger Grimes
5536 N Wayne Ave
Chicago, IL
Marianne Krieg
614 S. Plain Street
Ithaca, NY
Peter King
606 Thurber St.
Syracuse, NY
Pat Halpen
3071 Shay Rd
Naples, NY
Tom Buckner
PO Box 253
Philmont, NY
Joan Palminteri
Advocates for Cherry Valley
1797 County Hwy 50
Cherry Valley, New York
Barbara Sharon Adams
204 Bice Road
Cooperstown, N.Y.
Heather Tavares
12 Ted's Way
Moravia, NY
Dave Thompson
12 Ted's Way
Moravia, NY
Savanah Thompson
12 Ted's Way
Moravia, NY
richard schauman
bluff point association on keuka lake
134 cutteracircle
bluffton, s.c.
Charlotte Hall
110 Pine Ridge Road
Cooperstown, NY
Deb Weir
238 Upper Boiceville Rd
Boiceville, New York
Sonia Sola
393 Peeters Rd
Schenevus, NY
carol lee
8087 featherly dr
sodus point , ny
Dean Sternberg
147 Dubois Road
Shokan, New York
Christopher Riley
707 Mitchell Street
Ithaca, NY
Karen Miller
Lisle Rd
Owego, NY
Jennifer Kotary
242 2nd St Apt 2
Troy, NY
Eileen Maxwell
34 Turkey Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
James Sofranko
3479 Route 28A
West Shokan, NY
Roger Glasgow
201 Lancaster
Buffalo, NY
Joan Enker
LHSC 25 Nelson Road
Lake Huntington, New york
Joanne Lenweaver
Private Citizen
1215 Matson Road
Tully, NY
Miriam Amari
213 Upper Byrdcliffe Road
Woodstock, NY
Gabriela Amari
125 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, New York
Sarah Apfel
201 E 17 St
New York, New York
Shirley Hogg
289 Bone Plain Rd
Freeville, NY
Susan Mead
219 W. Lincoln St.
Ithaca, NY
Lisa Rieger
412 Ferndale Drive
Binghamton, NY
Esther Lerman
929 N Sanford Rd
Afton, NY
MargaretAnn Bowers
433 N Geneva St. Apt#2
Ithaca, NY
Joan Hebb
6 Harrison St.
Binghamton, NY
Michael Kirkpatrick
1057 Elizabethtown Rd.
Ilion, NY
Ira Rabois
213 Tupper Road
Spencer, NY
Suzanne Anderson
Trumansburg Family Health Center
42 Whig Street
Trumansburg, New York
Sweetbryar Ludwig
31 Overlook Drive
Woodstock, NY
Dylan Loeb
571 St. John Rd.
Afton, NY
Patricia Brunner
Sunny Slope Farm
211 Brunner Road
Cooperstown, New York
Pamela Bohsung
465 Dyer Road
Jefferson, NY
Irene DeRonda
Forgegate Drive
Cold Spring, NY
Karla Kavanaugh
New Concord Rd
East Chatham, NY
Matthew F. Carney III
201 Walnut Street Apt. No. 102
Corning, New York
Marvin Zachow
Crumhorn Lake
152 Hall RD
Maryland, New York
Patricia Valek
235 Noyes Rd
Vestal, NY
Christopher Stein
431 Chapel HIll Road
Hancock, NY
Ellen and Oskar Schmidt
8 Genung Circle
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Davis
335 Miller Road
Hudson, NY
Craig and Julie Sautner
1101 Carter Road
Montrose, pa
William Ferullo
rr 1 box 623
warren center, PA.
Martha Davis
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
310 Lafayette Ave
Geneva, NY
Steve Gabriel
Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute
323 Center St
Ithaca, NY
Dean Marshall
52 Railroad Rd.
Benton, Pa
emily grimes
5536 n. Wayne ave.
chicago, IL
Dorothy Marcus
473 Spillway Road
Wesr Hurley, NY
Samuel Bosco
415 Elm St
Ithac, NY
gwen fabricant
463 west street , d604
new york, NY
Cliff Brunner
Sunny Slope Farm
211 Brunner Rd.
Cooperstown, New York
Wendy Barrett
Upper Unadilla Valley Association
P.O. Box 220
Leonardsville, NY
Melissa Saunders
56881 State Highway 10
South Kortright, NY
Erin McConnell
74 Cereus Way
New Paltz, NY
Steven Lee
Zero Waste Coalition
16 Jay St.
Geneva, New York
Briana Binkerd-Dale
204 Center St
Ithaca, NY
Jean Gates
117 County Highway 18B
West Winfield, NY
Kurt Seitz
727 Madison Avenue
Albany, NY
Robert A Tumasian 2nd
173 Sheldon Hill R.d.
Olivebridge, New York
Gerard Thomas
39 Bruce Street
Walton, NY
Liz Falk
323 Center Street
Ithaca, NY
Gabriel Tavares
315 n. Albany St.
Ithaca, New York
Peter Ott
136 Updike Road
Ithaca, Ny
Robert Crampton
4571 State Hiway 28
Milford, NY
Ofra Hyman
12 Lake Street
Cooperstown, NY