News > News > Safeguard Drinking Water > Fracking/Gas Drilling > Riverkeeper: DEC Failed to Adequately Analyze Potential for Fracking Impacts on and Propose Sufficient Protections for the NYC Watershed

Riverkeeper: DEC Failed to Adequately Analyze Potential for Fracking Impacts on and Propose Sufficient Protections for the NYC Watershed

Submits separate comments highlighting six fundamental flaws that pose a major threat to the drinking water supply of nine million New Yorkers

White Plains, NY, January 12, 2012 – As the comment period on New York State’s fracking proposals comes to a close, Riverkeeper announced today that it has submitted a detailed letter to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) highlighting six fundamental flaws in the revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (RDSGEIS) and draft high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) regulations that pose a major threat to the NYC Watershed.

The comments specifically address DEC’s failure to: (1) adequately assess the potential impacts of HVHF underneath the Watershed; (2) ban drilling in the Watershed involving less than 300,000 gallons of water; (3) fully protect Watershed infrastructure; (4) analyze wastewater issues related to the Watershed; (5) consider water withdrawal issues; and (6) evaluate impacts of gas pipelines and compressor stations in the Watershed. Although these comments address the NYC Watershed, they apply equally to the Syracuse Watershed and other sensitive watershed areas of the state.

“The state’s fracking proposals do not provide for the protections necessary to safeguard the integrity of the drinking water that nine million New Yorkers depend on daily,” said Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper Watershed Program Director. “We’ve seen too much contamination of water supplies in other states to allow this to happen in New York, where we pride ourselves on having the best drinking water in the country.”

Read Riverkeeper’s comments here (PDF 184 KB).

Riverkeeper also submitted over 600 pages of detailed technical and legal comments with our coalition partners, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The technical comments are available here (PDF 10.4MB) and the legal comments here (PDF 3.7 MB).

About the NYC Watershed

The Catskill/Delaware portions of the NYC Watershed provide pristine drinking water to nine million New Yorkers – almost half the state’s population. This Watershed is one of only five urban systems in America that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted a filtration avoidance determination under the Safe Drinking Water Act because of its high quality source water. When drinking water is obtained from surface waters (such as rivers), it is generally “filtered” to remove contaminants. Water obtained from the NYC Watershed is not filtered. Rather, the water is disinfected and distributed by a system of aqueducts, tunnels and pipes to consumers in NYC and upstate communities. Avoiding filtration both allows the City to maintain extraordinarily high quality water and saves the City billions of dollars in capital expenditures and millions of dollars in operations and maintenance costs each year.

About Riverkeeper

Riverkeeper is a member-supported, watchdog organization whose mission includes safeguarding the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Watershed that provides drinking water to nine million New York City (NYC) and Hudson Valley residents. Riverkeeper is actively involved in advocacy and public education surrounding the issue of shale gas extraction via HVHF (also referred to as fracking), in particular because of its potential impacts on New York’s water supply.

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