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Please take action re: Marcellus Shale Executive Order No. 41/Documented hydrofracturing impact on drinking water

June 14, 2011

Honorable Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Room 3000 ARS: MC-1101A
Washington, DC 20460


I trust you have been well since we last communicated. I write today regarding several matters that warrant your immediate attention.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency provided strong, sweeping criticism of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC's) Marcellus Shale draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS). See:

EPA concerns are reinforced by a wide range of Region 2 and 3 memoranda that recently came to light as a result of the three-part series published by The New York Times regarding Marcellus Shale gas drilling wastewater concerns. See:

Many of EPA's criticisms of the draft SGEIS are echoed by a coalition letter with nearly 11,000 signatories. See:

Given all the shortcomings of the draft SGEIS, former Governor Paterson signed Executive Order No. 41 just before leaving office requiring DEC to revise the document on a comprehensive basis. Governor Cuomo signed a continuation of that Executive Order as one of his first official acts.

Region 2's letter states: "EPA recommends that these concerns be addressed and essential environmental protection measures established prior to the completion of the SEQRA process." With that goal in mind, I request that Region 2 immediately update its 2009 comments to make sure that DEC's revision of the draft SGEIS fully addresses EPA's concerns.

I also request that EPA provide DEC with all the pertinent information EPA has compiled with regard to its national hydrofracturing study. Please ask DEC to include this information in its review pursuant to Executive Order No. 41.

I urge you to take urgent action with regard to these requests since Governor Cuomo has imposed an arbitrary deadline of 7/1/11 for DEC to complete its revision of the draft SGEIS. If EPA believes DEC requires more time to address the grave concerns referenced by Region 2, please communicate that sentiment to DEC Commissioner Martens without delay.

Proposed New York City Watershed Gas Drilling Moratorium

Among the EPA documents obtained by The New York Times is a Regional Administrator Briefing Overview that contains a recommendation for a gas drilling moratorium in the New York City Watershed. See page 16 at

Regional Administrator Enck recently stated: "I was at EPA Region 2 when we were preparing our comments, and there was a debate on whether or not to call for a moratorium on hydrofracking in the New York City watershed," Enck said. "And there was a difference of opinion. Some people did, some people didn't." See:

See below a 12/24/09 email sent by Mr. Phil Sweeney. It notes: "For the New York City watershed, we recommend that a precautionary approach be taken, and that a moratorium be established... (emphasis added)."

Will you please explain to me why EPA evidently reversed its position on imposing a New York City gas drilling moratorium between when Mr. Sweeney publicly reported the moratorium on 12/24/09 and when Region 2 submitted formal comments to DEC on 12/30/09. See:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Statement

Finally, I understand you appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on May 24, 2011 and stated: “I am not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself affected water, although there are investigations ongoing."

I videotaped an interview with Mr. David Eddy, a resident of Independence, NY, who described how his drinking water supply well and home were reportedly impacted by toxic contamination caused by the hydrofracturing of a gas well across the street from his home. See:

I also provide for your review a U. S. Energy document that reports toxic contamination of Mr. Eddy's water well, notes that the firm paid for a water treatment system and "put Mr. Eddy and his family in a hotel several nights during the initial impact." That document also discloses "U. S. Energy has offered Mr. Eddy compensation which he has refused."

See: and

Unless you disagree with the conclusion that U. S. Energy's hydrofracturing activities polluted Mr. Eddy's water well and home, I request that you write to correct the hearing record regarding your statement.

Thank you for considering my requests. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions that I might be able to answer. I look forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Walter Hang

Sent: Thu, December 24, 2009 9:55:56 AM

I am writing to notify you that EPA Region 2 has provided comments on the NYSDEC draft Supplemental Generic EIS for Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs.

One concern included in EPA's letter is that the analysis of cumulative and indirect impacts should be significantly expanded. We also recommend that a greater emphasis be placed on potential adverse health impacts. For the New York City watershed, we recommend that a precautionary approach be taken, and that a moratorium be established, which could be followed by a phased permitting plan which would limit the intensity and impacts of drilling activity. In addition to these highlights, the letter includes technical comments on issues including air quality, water quality, habitat protection, and radioactivity.

A press release about EPA’s comment letter will be issued today, and a copy of the letter will be available on our website:

Philip Sweeney
EPA Region 2
NYC Water Supply Protection Team
Phone: 212.637.3780
Fax: 212.637.3887