The DEC Fails to Make Case for Fracking

A preliminary version of the DEC’s latest Draft SGEIS became available online on Friday, July 1st, so we now have a pretty good sense of how the DEC plans to go about issuing permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

The original Draft released in 2009 read as if had been written by industry lobbyists. This revised Draft reads as if it were written by intelligent, well-intentioned people who are making an effort to regulate a dangerous industrial process that, at the end of the day, cannot be safely regulated.

A responsible plan for shale gas extraction would have to offer well-founded assurances that our water supplies are protected now and in the future. The revised Draft does not, indeed cannot, do that.

Extracting gas from New York’s Marcellus Shale using today’s technology will necessarily entail injecting hundreds of billions of gallons of unrecoverable toxic fluid beneath our aquifers. The revised Draft fails to demonstrate that, over time, these toxic fluids, as well as the gas itself, will not migrate into groundwater and drinking water supplies. Unless and until New Yorkers can be assured that water supplies will not be compromised, high-volume fracturing and shale gas extraction should not go forward.

If you doubt that high-volume fracturing is a threat to drinking water supplies, you only have to read the revised Draft itself. The DEC proposes to restrict drilling in a number of areas including, the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, on some state lands, and in the vicinity of primary aquifers and public water supplies.

In some instances these exclusions are justified by specific circumstances. Syracuse and New York City have unfiltered water supplies that could be compromised by any significant ground disturbance; surface drilling activity in state parks and forests is deemed incompatible with the purpose for which the lands were acquired.

However other prohibitions, like drilling in the vicinity of primary aquifers and near public water supplies, are based on one simple fact-shale gas extraction, using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, can contaminate drinking water.

If that’s the case, as the DEC acknowledges, then the drinking water of all New Yorkers must be protected. New York State does not have the right to declare that some citizens deserve protection that is being denied to others. We do not have first class and second class citizens in America. New York cannot be divided into protected zones and sacrificial energy extraction colonies.

Until and unless the gas industry can come up with an extraction method that does not threaten water supplies now or in the future, New York must prohibit hydraulic fracturing.

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.

Fire Bradley J. Field!

If New York insists on pushing forward with dangerous fracturing, then the DEC Division of Mineral Resources must be in capable and trustworthy hands-and that means Director Bradley J. Field must be removed!

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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