Tuesday,   April 22, 2014

Take Action!

Despite the fact that U.S. natural gas cannot conceivably be used to help ease tensions in the Ukraine, the current crisis is being furiously exploited to fast track natural-gas exports. If industry lobbyists get their way, the federal government will be prohibited from restricting exports even when they are not in the national interest.

H.R. 6, hypocritically named “The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act” could deliver American energy resources into the hands of our rivals and undermine our economy by stripping American industry of a price advantage it now enjoys.

With the White House sitting on the sidelines and few politicians willing to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, responsible leadership on this issue is practically nonexistent. Some of the few voices of reason are coming from corporations such as Dow Chemical and Alcoa, whose leaders point out that unfettered gas exports will lead to higher energy costs for American consumers and manufacturers—and American-made products will be more expensive, and therefore less competitive, in the world market.

Please take action today. Tell your congressional representatives that the federal government must continue to review all licenses for gas export terminals—and not allow those that will undermine our economy and energy security.


Although the Obama administration continues to ignore the fact that gas exports will inevitably lead to more fracking, three of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ten regional offices have broken ranks and explicitly connected exports with the harmful “upstream impacts” of shale gas extraction.

EPA Region 6 is the latest to criticize the environmental review of an export facility prepared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which licenses energy infrastructure projects. Region 6 determined that FERC’s draft environmental impact statement is deficient because it fails to “consider the extent to which implementation of the proposed project could increase the demand for domestic natural gas extraction, as well as potential environmental impacts.” These comments were made with regard to Sempra’s Cameron Liquefaction project to be constructed in Louisiana.

Two other regional EPA offices previously faulted FERC’s environmental review of two other export projects—one on the Atlantic seaboard, the other in the Pacific Northwest. Although FERC is required by law to certify that infrastructure projects serve “public convenience and necessity,” it persists in turning a blind eye to the devastating impact that fracking is having on human health and the American landscape.


FERC’s failure to consider whether or not gas infrastructure projects are in the public interest was one of several concerns outlined in a Catskill Citizens petition hosted by CREDO and signed by over 100,000 Americans that was delivered to FERC headquarters in Washington, DC on April 17th. The petition demanded a moratorium on new gas infrastructure projects until the industry addresses the thousands of gas leaks, compressor station fires, and pipeline explosions that bedevil our gas transmission system.

Come to Albany on May 12th for a Fracking Lobby Day!

“We need action to protect New York from fracking! Join us on May 12 to talk to legislators about fracking, its waste, infrastructure, and the need for a comprehensive health impact assessment. Citizens Campaign for the Environment has all the details here.”


Please donate to
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy,
an all-volunteer grassroots organization.


Take Action!

The deadline for public comment on New York’s flawed Energy Plan is April 30th. If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute and submit these letters, which highlight the Plan’s serious defects. You can send these letters as written, or rewrite them, adding your own comments.


Back in February 2013, NYS Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah announced that he anticipated delivering a completed Public Health Review of fracking to the DEC “within a few weeks.” Now, more than a year later, Dr. Shah is resigning, and his health review still hasn’t seen the light of day.

All along the Cuomo administration has insisted on conducting this review in secret, but recently clues about what it might contain have begun to emerge.

In March, John Adgate of the School of Public Health, one of three outside experts retained by the Department of Health, published Potential Public Health Hazards, Exposures and Health Effects from Unconventional Natural Gas Development, which found that communities near gas wells must cope with “air pollutants, ground and surface water contamination, truck traffic and noise pollution, accidents and malfunctions, and psychosocial stress associated with community change.”

Illustration of fracking impacts from the abstract of the Adgate study.
Click here to enlarge.

The Adgate study also pointed out, “no comprehensive population-based studies of the public health effects of [unconventional natural gas] operations exist.”

Then on April 21, the Seneca Lakes Pure Water Association released thousands of documents related to the health study that it had obtained from the Department of Health under the Freedom of Information Law (and threat of lawsuit.) The organization is in the process of scanning these documents and making them available on its website.


Each time New York issues a permit for an oil or gas well, $100 goes into an oil and gas account that is supposed to pay for plugging the thousands of abandoned and sometimes leaking oil and gas wells that pockmark the state. But the $159,000 dollars now in this industry-funded account is dwarfed by the $2 million in taxpayer money set aside for the same purpose—and taxpayers have had to cough up millions more to pay for EPA well-plugging operations that have sealed hundreds of New York wells in recent years.


But while New York taxpayers pay to clean up the mess left behind by the fossil fuel industry, they get very little in return. According to a report from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the state’s 10,661 producing oil and gas wells generate an average of just $292 in local taxes—that’s barely enough to cover the cost of filling a few potholes caused by a heavy drilling rig.


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Public awareness is the key to our success.
Two out of three people who find out about fracking
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