Action Alert: 3rd NY Times Article Reveals Undue Gas Industry Influence on EPA | Catskill Mountainkeeper
FINAL INSTALLMENT OF NY TIMES SERIES ON FRACKING MAKES THE SIZE OF THE THREAT AND THE NEED FOR CITIZEN ACTION CLEARER THAN EVER
The New York Times has published Ian Urbina’s third article in a series about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. This installment (available online now) lays out the undue influence that industry and some lawmakers have had on the Environmental Protection Agency and its ability to conduct the necessary levels of research, monitoring and enforcement concerning the threats to our water and health as a result of fracking that the public deserves.
The story tracks 25 years of pressure from government officials that has resulted in the scope of EPA studies being narrowed, and findings about the dangers of fracking being removed or kept secret. Now some scientists and lawyers at the EPA are wondering whether history is about to repeat itself, as the agency undertakes a broad new study of natural gas drilling and its potential risks, with preliminary results scheduled to be delivered next year. Click here to read the full text of the article.
Catskill Mountainkeeper reported on Mr. Urbina’s first article about radioactive wastewater being dumped into rivers nationwide including right next door in Pennsylvania. The second article, “Wastewater Recycling No Cure-All in Gas Process”, which was published on 3/1/11 was just as damning. It chronicled the severe environmental and health risks from the industry’s wastewater recycling practice. Click here for full text of the second article.
Mr. Urbina’s comprehensive and well-researched reports factually substantiate what Catskill Mountainkeeper has been saying all along. Hydrofracking as currently implemented elsewhere and as being contemplated in NY State is unsafe and should not commence in New York.
The Sad Truth:
These articles on the glaring truths about the dangers of fracking clearly point out that we cannot assume that our government will protect us even though that is their job and it is what we hire them to do. In the most recent article we learned how the industry and senators from energy states have in effect prevented EPA staffers from doing what they knew they should or coerced them into suppressing critical information. This makes our responsibility and need as citizens to hold our public officials accountable and make sure they act in our best interests clearer and more important than ever.
An Important Step Towards Transparency That You Can Support
On March 2, 2011 Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) requested Congressional hearings to assess potential concerns with hydraulic fracturing of natural gas before relevant House Committees. They issued the following joint statement about the letters:
“We hope that both Committees will hold hearings to determine whether our drinking water is safe. If federal and state regulations have not kept pace with this growing industry, we need to know before it creates a public health concern. As Representatives from New York, we are especially concerned given that some of the wastewater from hydrofracking is being transported to public sewage plants in our state. By holding hearings, Congress, the industry, and the public would have a better understanding of wastewater treatment and what further Congressional action is needed.”
An Emerging Way We Can Say NOT HERE & NOT NOW
There is a growing movement in cities and towns to protect themselves from the devastation of fracking by banning the practice in their communities. On February 8th, The Buffalo New York Common Council unanimously passed a citywide ban on fracking. The ban’s sponsor Councilmember Joseph Golomback said, “They can sue us if they want, when it comes to the safety of our residents and protecting our environment, we do have a responsibility.” In a meeting in Otswego, just last night, an overflow crowd of nearly 200 people spoke in favor of a ban on fracking and there is strong popular support to create a ban there.
Catskill Mountainkeeper is actively reviewing how municipalities can go about prohibiting gas drilling within their borders. Our early findings indicate that many municipalities within the state of New York are not pre-empted from prohibiting gas drilling entirely and are only preempted from regulating the operations and processes of gas drilling when it does exist. We are encouraging our New York State Assemblymen to vote yes on Assembly Bill A03245, which would clarify local home rule.
It’s Now Up To Us
The battle to prevent unsafe gas drilling in NY State is now moving into its next phase. Together we have worked hard and relentlessly for three years. With the support of so many new facts and their wide circulation we are in a better position of winning than ever before. It has also become incredibly clear that in order to assure that our elected and appointed officials act in our behalf we have to speak loudly, in numbers and frequently.
Click here and send President Obama an email letter telling them you want him to make sure the handcuffs are taken off the EPA and to make sure they are allowed to do their jobs without undue influence being placed on them.
Click here and tell Governor Cuomo that the evidence is just too damning to consider having the DEC issue their SGEIS without further in-depth review and reconsideration.