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Riverkeeper Responds to DEC’s Rush to Finalize Fracking Proposal by Spring

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Photos (L to R): Jessica Riehl, WVSORO.org, Jessica Riehl
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Urges New Yorkers to call for passage of moratorium bill
White Plains, NY – February 17, 2012 – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has made it clear it intends to issue a finalized Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) this spring, which means that fracking could move forward under the state’s flawed proposal as early as this summer. Following is a statement from Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program Director:

“DEC and Governor Cuomo are again rushing ahead with fracking in New York State, and this will inevitably mean a flawed final document which the public will have no opportunity to question and comment on. There are glaring gaps that need to be addressed, including the missing analysis of the negative economic impacts fracking will have on communities. We called out DEC in November asking it to redo and release for public comment the socioeconomics portions of the SGEIS, a supplement that the agency itself acknowledged was fundamentally flawed. We have not received a response to this letter and still don’t know if and how this vital issue will be addressed.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The SGEIS also fails to include a comprehensive assessment of cumulative impacts, rather focusing on impacts on a well-by-well basis, and fails to propose adequate protections for our state’s water supply.

Under this rushed timeframe, the final fracking proposal will likely not be protective, nor provide a sound basis for decision-making about fracking. And it will mean that in order to make certain that citizens’ health, environment and pocketbooks are protected, it is likely we will have to sue!

In the meantime, we are calling on New Yorkers to urge their legislators to pass the fracking moratorium bill and tell Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens not to finalize the SGEIS until, at a minimum, they have addressed and offered for public comment a new draft addressing the myriad problems in the 2011 version.

We cannot allow our health and environment to be sold to the gas industry. Governor Cuomo has promised that he will not allow fracking to move forward until he has the facts and the science that shows that it will be safe and a net benefit to New Yorkers. Rushing forward in this fashion breaks that promise and puts New York in jeopardy to become yet another case study of fracking gone wrong.”