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One More Day to Act: Gas Drilling May Begin in New York Soon

It's down to the final wire for public comments on the proposed regulations to allow for industrial gas drilling and fracking in New York.

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The proposed SGEIS would undermine our safety by failing to recognize that the hazardous chemicals going into a well are equally hazardous when they come back out. This will result in weak and inadequate guidelines for their disposal.

Proving a case of illness caused by hypothesized and undisclosed chemicals is, of course, virtually impossible. Therefore, complete lists of chemicals with quantitative amounts of each, proprietary or not, must be provided well by well. These lists must be available in advance of use, because without them water testing is a futile, ineffective endeavor. Lack of full chemical disclosure ensures minimal liability for the drilling companies under a deliberate cloak of ignorance placed over knowable risks.

The insincerity of protections in the proposed SGEIS is also obvious in the unequal protections granted for the watershed of New York City compared to the rest of the state.

Finally, Executive Order 24 sets the target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in New York by 2050, and methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

The SGEIS must include an absolute requirement for the full capture of fugitive gases associated with flowback waters in completion stages of well drilling. Thank you.

Julia Walsh: My name is Julia Walsh. I'm the Campaign Director of Frack Action. I'm a land owner with five acres in the Catskill Mountains in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale, and I'm a former elected official from the Village Board of New Paltz.

I came into this issue as a land owner when I heard of this industry being exempt from federal laws put into place to protect Americans from toxic corporations. I began to educate myself about the industry and thought that fracking could never happen in this state. I'm still shocked that we are having this conversation. It is clear that this industry will threaten our economy, environment, public health and safety. And for the millions of dollars that the gas industry has, they can't even turn out a large number of people to these hearings right now, and that their shirts say, "Jobs," they don't seem to understand that those jobs are going to be coming from out-of-state drillers who are trained in other states how to drill rigs. We don't have those jobs, and I think I can speak for most of the young people in this room when we don't want those jobs. [APPLAUSE]

I'm calling on the Commissioner of the DEC to withdraw this document, and for the Governor of New York to ban fracking completely, and engage in a real renewable energy economy; that this country desperate needs a leader and a state to follow.

I also want to say that, as an elected official, I was sworn to uphold the state's constitution of equal protection under the law, and it is clear that this document is a political document creating the guise of protection for some in Syracuse and New York City at the threat of others across the state.

New Yorkers realize this. The emperor has no clothes, and we can see that. I'm urging you in the DEC right now to really haul yourselves into finding out what is the reason that you're in this position to begin with, to protect the environment and the public's health. We need whistleblowers now. The time has come to stand up. People are afraid across this state right now. They are terrified that they are going to be poisoned, and that their children are going to get cancer because of this industry.

And I call on you and your ethics and your own morality right now to stand up and join us in the call to stop this insanity and stop this industry from moving forward and destroying this beautiful, vibrant state that we love.

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