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DEC’s Environmental Impact Statement on Hydrofracking Fundamentally Flawed

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371, tposterli@riverkeeper.org

DEC’s Environmental Impact Statement on Hydrofracking Fundamentally Flawed

Riverkeeper calls for DEC to redo socioeconomic impact analysis in its SGEIS to include public costs of fracking, extend public comment period

Ossining, NY – November 8, 2011 — Riverkeeper announced today that it has submitted a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) calling attention to the agency’s failure to quantify any negative socioeconomic impacts associated with fracking in its draft supplemental generic impact statement (SGEIS). Riverkeeper is urging DEC to correct this glaring omission in its socioeconomic assessment by disclosing fracking’s potential costs to New York’s economy and local communities. DEC should then provide a full opportunity for the public to comment on the revised version of the SGEIS.

DEC’s Economic Assessment Report is a 251 page addendum to the SGEIS. Only seven of those pages assess potential adverse socioeconomic impacts and they are glossed over without being given any substantial, quantitative consideration or analysis. Specific areas of concern include:

  • The impact statement contains no estimate of costs to communities associated with increased demand for community social services, police and fire departments, first responders, local hospitals, etc. Similarly, how our governments are to deal with the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual road costs that fracking will bring is not explained.
  • The impact statement ignores the potential negative impact to agriculture from land and water contamination risks.
  • Potential negative impacts on tourism – one of New York’s most important industries – are similarly dismissed without any serious consideration in the impact statement.

Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper stated, “How can the DEC even consider moving fracking forward in New York without taking a hard look at the myriad of adverse social and economic impacts that have been happening across our country? Until that is done and an honest cost benefit analysis can be completed, the process is fundamentally flawed and cannot justify public trust.”

“We’ve been saying from the outset that the public comment period DEC has allotted for the simultaneous review of the SGEIS and draft regulations is unfair and unreasonable,” said Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper Watershed Program Director. “Now that we are calling on DEC to correct its fatally flawed Economic Assessment Report, it is imperative that it also account for this in the public comment process and provide a full opportunity for people to weigh in on needed revisions to the socioeconomic analysis in the SGEIS before closing the comment period on that document.”

Read Riverkeeper’s letter to DEC (PDF).

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Riverkeeper is a member-supported, watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. For more information, please visit www.riverkeeper.org