NYS ASSEMBLY PASSES A FRACKING MORATORIUM BILL
On March 6th, the NYS Assembly voted 103 to 40 to pass A05424, a bill that will suspend fracking in the Marcellus Shale for two years and require New York to conduct a comprehensive health impact assessment. It’s a good first step. Thus far the Cuomo Administration has refused to order such a study on its own, but if this bill crosses the governor’s desk, it will be very difficult for him not to sign it.
But before a bill can be sent to Governor Cuomo, it has to be voted out of the Senate, and there are several obstacles in that body which must be overcome.
First, while there are two moratorium bills in the Senate, neither one is identical to the one passed by the Assembly, and that’s a problem. Unlike Congress, the state legislature seldom reconciles two different versions of a bill in conference. Usually both the Senate and Assembly must pass identical legislation. Senator David Carlucci’s bill, S04046, has some worthy features. For example it would delay fracking until both the EPA study of fracking and drinking water safety and another important health study have been completed. Still, we’d like to see it amended to include an independent health impact assessment as called for by the Assembly.
Second, while there may be enough votes in the Senate to pass a moratorium bill neither Majority Leader Dean Skelos or Environmental Conservation Chair Mark Gristanti have indicated that they are willing to permit a vote on the issue. We urge you to take a moment and tell the Senate Vote For A Fracking Moratorium!
FERC SIDES WITH MILLENNIUM
On March 1st the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released an 86 page environmental assessment of the compressor station that the Millennium Pipeline Company wants to build adjacent to a vacation community on rural Hungry Hill Road. Ignoring the eloquent testimony from area residents, FERC concluded, “…we believe that approval of the Project would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. We recommend that the Commission’s Order contain a finding of no significant impact…”
The public has until April 1 to submit comments on the assessment. “The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at 202-502-8258 or [email protected].”
CATSKILL CITIZENS REACHES OUT TO TARGET COMMUNITIES
In the coming weeks, Catskill Citizens will be sending its brochure “Are you ready to be part of Governor Cuomo’s experiment?” to an additional eighty-four thousand households in target communities throughout western New York State.
“Are you ready?” describes industry exemptions from key environmental laws that can lead to drinking water contamination, and points out that individual property rights are no match for powerful gas drilling corporations. Catskill Citizens created the brochure in response to Governor Cuomo’s plan to permit fracking in several Southern Tier counties while continuing to protect other regions of the state. The new edition of the brochure provides a link to a twenty-five page online document that provides hard evidence to support each and every claim in the text.
In January, Catskill Citizens sent the brochure to more than 190,000 households in Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga counties; the second mailing will bring the total number of households reached to over 275,000.
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For more information email [email protected] or call (845) 468 7063
Two out of three people who find out about fracking think the risks aren’t worth the rewards.
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