Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions



For immediate release:
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
For more information contact:
Sarah Eckel, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 315-472-1339, 518-339-2853 (mobile), seckel@citizenscampaign.org
Erica Ringewald, Environmental Advocates of New York, 518-210-9903 (mobile), eringewald@eany.org


New Yorkers Protest State's Fast-Tracked Public Comment Period for Fracking Proposal

ALBANY, NY -Green groups delivered 180 water-powered clocks to Governor Andrew Cuomo's office in the State Capitol today. Environmental Advocates of New York and Citizens Campaign for the Environment called on Governor Cuomo to extend the state's public comment period on its draft revised Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) and draft regulations for gas drilling by means of high volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," from 90 days to 180 days. The groups' members purchased the clocks to send to Governor Cuomo.

"Governor Cuomo isn't listening to New Yorkers' concerns about fracking. We've held dozens of press conferences, made hundreds of telephone calls, and sent thousands of emails. We've also posted hundreds of messages to the Governor's Facebook page and exercised our organizing muscles on Twitter, but he isn't getting the message," said Katherine Nadeau, Water & Natural Resources Program Director for Environmental Advocates of New York. "New Yorkers deserve 180 days to review the state's 1,500-plus page fracking proposal and that's why our members are sending the Governor these clocks today. We want to buy some time the old fashioned way." 

The SGEIS was released for public review on September 7th. The purpose of this document is to inform the state's decision-making with regard to fracking. On September 28th, the state released draft regulations and a fracking Clean Water Act draft permit for review. The state's current 90-day public comment period and four public hearing schedule puts an unreasonable burden on New Yorkers, who are now expected to simultaneously review the draft regulations and draft permit released last week, as well as the 1,500-plus pages of the SGEIS. The simultaneous review will be particularly challenging for those living in areas have been impacted by recent flooding and are likely to see drilling.

"There is no rush to drill. New Yorkers need time to provide thoughtful and meaningful feedback on the proposed environmental impact statement and regulations," said Sarah Eckel, Legislative & Policy Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "Hydro-fracking for gas leads to industrial sprawl that could result in devastation to New York's air, land, water, and people. Denying the public adequate time to review these extensive proposals is like to shutting them out of the process."

As soon as the original 60-day public comment period for the state's fracking proposal was announced, the organizations began to call on the Governor and the DEC to extend the comment period to 180 days and to include at least two additional public hearings in Upstate New York. In August, more than 70 groups, and dozens of state lawmakers from across the state, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and the DEC asking to extend the comment period, in addition to hosting more public hearings. Several groups also held a virtual rally during which their members posted messages to the Governor's Facebook page and to Twitter using the hashtag #180daysforNY.

To frack a gas well, millions of gallons of water, sand, and toxic chemicals are pumped deep underground at high pressure. This fractures the rock that has trapped the gas for millennia and allows it to escape. From start to finish, gas development that relies on fracking is an industrial process that threatens our water. State after state, from Wyoming to Pennsylvania, has documented its dangers. New York can't afford to put short-term gas profits ahead of the long-term health of our water and our communities. Visit CleanWaterNotDirtyDrilling.org to learn more about fracking.


Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

Environmental Advocates of New York's mission is to protect our air, land, water and wildlife and the health of all New Yorkers. Based in Albany, we monitor state government, evaluate proposed laws, and champion policies and practices that will ensure the responsible stewardship of our shared environment. We work to support and strengthen the efforts of New York's environmental community and to make our state a national leader. Visit www.eany.org to learn more.

updated by bsmith  10/4/11