Summer Reading, Really?   

Extend the Public Comment Period

So far, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released 1,095 pages of its Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program, and there’s still more to come.

The public has the legal right to comment on the Draft, but it may not have the time to do so. The Cuomo Administration and the DEC are giving the public just sixty days to read and comment on this huge, highly technical document. This is an impossible task for the ordinary citizen, as well as for scientists and technicians who could contribute valuable ideas if given the time to carefully analyze the DEC’s plan for fracking.

Tell Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens to give the public the time it needs to exercise its legal right to comment on the Draft.

Tell the New York Times to keep Ian Urbina Drilling Down

In the face of external pressure, the New York Times recently investigated its own reporter, Ian Urbina, who has been one of the few journalists to take a hard look at shale gas extraction in his powerful series, Drilling Down.

Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane criticized Mr. Urbina in a column that asked why his latest article “didn’t include input from the energy giants like Exxon Mobil” or “more space for a reasoned explanation from the other side.”

This is preposterous. The oil and gas industry has no trouble getting its message across; it spends over 150 million dollars a year on lobbying, and hundreds of millions more trying to convince the American people that filthy shale gas is “clean,” and that exporting gas overseas will somehow lead to “energy independence.”

Mr. Brisbane’s complaints were rebutted in a strongly supportive letter from Mr. Urbina’s editors, but a lingering question remains: Will the Times have the smarts and the courage to let Ian Urbina continue to investigate shale gas “plays” and fracking?

Tell Congress to support the Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Exposure Elimination Act of 2011

According to the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), this bill “addresses one of the most serious threats to the security and economy of our country: the health and well-being of our children, who today face mounting odds of being born with an endocrine-related disorder.” Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are used in all phases of shale gas extraction and in fracking fluid. Read the bill.

Leaked Department of Transportation Memo Describes a Fracking Nightmare

Our friends at C-DOG posted what appears to be a confidential NYS Department of Transportation draft memo that calls the potential transportation impacts of drilling “ominous.”

Among its findings:

  • Overlapping development at a number of wells could easily result in daily truck volumes of 400 or more; and if water supply activities are compressed into a tighter time frame, truck volumes could exceed 1,000 per day.
  • It will be necessary to reconstruct hundreds of miles of roads and scores of bridges and undertake safety and operational improvements in many areas.
  • The annual costs to undertake these transportation projects are estimated to range from $90 to $156 million for State roads and from $121- $222 million for local roads.
  • There is no mechanism in place allowing State and local governments to absorb these additional transportation costs without major impacts to other programs and municipalities in the State.
  • Since horizontal wells will generally require re-fracking … truck traffic will peak and be sustained for those years in which new wells are being developed at the same time that older wells are being refracked.
  • If development in New York mirrors that seen in other shale gas plays, it will occur over 15-30 years.


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