Atlantic Chapter

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Sierra Club reacts to Governor's plan to limit drilling to economically disadvantaged counties of New York

The New York Times reported “…the Cuomo administration is pursuing a plan to limit the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing to portions of several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support for the technology.”

“If true, the Governor’s proposal to only drill in economically disadvantaged areas of New York is a cynical departure from Cuomo’s original promise to base his fracking decisions on science - not emotion,” said Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. 

“The State of New York has failed to make the case that fracking can be conducted safely anywhere in NY. It is especially galling that the Governor is already carving into the communities with the least resources to protect themselves - long before there are even scientific evaluations of safety,” said Downs.   

"Limiting the geographic scope of fracking does not address the serious documented problems from wastewater disposal to drinking water contamination. The serious and dangerous problems that are being experienced every day in Pennsylvania can be expected to be repeated over the border in New York," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director.  

“We are deeply concerned about the effects of dangerous fracking practices on public health, drinking water and our air.  Ultimately, the only safe, smart, and responsible way to address our nation's energy needs is to look beyond fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, and focus on clean, efficient energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal," said Brune.   

As it stands now the DEC has a long list of obligations it must attend to before it can finalize the new regulations and press forward with drilling.  Among the outstanding deficiencies:  the DEC must still conduct a cumulative impact analysis of the 65,000 projected gas wells in a full build out scenario, redraft its socioeconomic analysis to reflect the true costs of drilling born on host communities, initiate a health risk assessment for public exposure to fracking operations, and devise a comprehensive plan for where to dispose of the projected billions of gallons of waste water and drill cuttings.


The Sierra Club demands that the State of New York refrain from advancing any plan that violates its own environmental justice principles.  Everyone’s water is ‘sacrosanct’ and deserves equal protection. (Click here to download Press Release)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012