The DEC outlines latest version of the Draft SGEIS
On June 30th the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a press release outlining many of the most important features contained in the revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SGEIS) which will be released on July 8th. While many New Yorkers won’t be satisfied with anything less than a total ban on fracking, Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens must be given credit for producing a document that is a vast improvement over the shoddy draft the DEC tried to fob off on New Yorkers back in 2009.
Key features of the revised draft include:
- Drilling banned within the New York City and Syracuse watershed.
- Drilling banned within eighteen of New York State’s most important aquifers.
- Surface drilling activity banned in state-owned parks, State Forests and Wildlife Management areas.
- Improved setbacks from private water wells and public water supplies for at least three years.
- Improved well casing regulations.
- Sealed containers for fracking wastewater instead of dangerous open pits.
- Improved monitoring of waste disposal.
- Improved regulation of waste treatment facilities.
- Affirmation of the rights of local municipalities to control gas extraction activity through zoning.
- Chemical disclosure.
- Restrictions on gas flaring which produces greenhouse gases.
- Adequate funding to ensure proper oversight and enforcement.
Also, the press release also acknowledged that “the 2009 [draft] SGEIS did not adequately consider the community and socio-economic impacts of high-volume fracturing.” A completel version of the revised draft will be released by July 31st and include additional material that looks at positive and negative socioeconomic impacts, infrastructure impacts and noise pollution.
So what’s not to like?
If New York is going to permit hydraulic fracturing we must be assured that the DEC Division of Mineral Resources must be in capable and trustworthy hands, and that means Director Bradley J. Field must be removed.
- The elephant in the room: The full development of the Marcellus Shale, using today’s technology, will entail the underground injection of hundreds of billions of gallons of toxic fluid that will never be recovered. No one, not Governor Cuomo, not Commissioner Martens, nor anyone else, can say with certainty that these toxic fluids won’t present a threat to our drinking water supplies in the years and decades to come.
- Unequal protection: The proposed SGEIS will protect some drinking water supplies but not others.
- So-called “best management practices” will only be required in some circumstances. This is a mistake. If fracking must go forward, the industry should be required to use best management practices in every phase of the extraction process, and in developing of each and every well.
Fire Bradley J. Field!
Two out of three people who find out about fracking think the risks aren’t worth the rewards.
Public awareness is the key to our success, so spread the word!
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