Submit your comments to the DEC!
The Department of Environmental Conservation has set up a complicated process to comment on their Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and the new High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing regulations. Please follow these steps to submit comments as painlessly as possible.
1. Open the DEC's website in a new window: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html Click the "Submit Comment" button near the bottom of the page.
2. Click "Continue" on the next page. Then select "Submit comments on the 2011 RDSGEIS."
3. Register by filling out your first and last name and completing the Capcha test. All other information is optional.
4. In the category menu, select "General Comments on the 2011 Revisions." Insert your comments in the "Comment" box. Feel free to copy and paste the talking points below. If you have time, please add your own thoughts or edit the text to ensure that the comments are not all identical.
5. Click the "Submit Comment" button. On the next page, click "I'm Done."
6. Use the form below to tell us how it went!
The SGEIS asserts that “There are no regions of the State expected to be negatively impacted from the proposed rules.” This statement is patently untrue. Rural New York depends on its natural beauty to attract billions of dollars worth of tourism every year; drilling and increased heavy truck traffic could drive tourists elsewhere. Chefs, farmers, vintners and brewers have said that water contamination could ruin their businesses. New York’s current businesses would suffer from the introduction of fracking.
Other states have shown the potential health impacts of fracking, but The SGEIS does not attempt to quantify or estimate the public health costs or number of people affected. It does admit that “[The Department of Health] would incur costs from investigating possible public health issues.” Christopher Portier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, recently stated that fracking’s public health effects should be studied, and many prominent doctors have called for a moratorium on the practice until the risks are known. It is unwise to proceed with a policy that will reshape our state without first understanding the health risks.
The SGEIS explicitly states, “ECL Article 17 declares that the public policy of the State is to require the use of all known available and reasonable methods to safeguard, prevent and control pollution in the waters of the state of New York.” Even in states with strong anti-pollution regulations, water has been polluted and ecosystems disrupted by fracking. Drilling, fracturing and waste storage all occur at pressures and volumes too great to be absolutely certain of their safety.
Noticeably absent from the SGEIS and HVHF regulations is any specific discussion of enforcement. It is not enough to have strong rules – DEC and other appropriate state agencies must ensure that these rules are followed. Offenders must not be allowed to get away with a mere slap on the wrist for putting the public at risk by violating the rules.