Today, Mountainkeeper is sending you alot of information that is important to read

Below you will find several actions you need to take

Mobilize Now! Demonstrate That New Yorkers Can’t Be Railroaded

Governor Cuomo is showing a strong determination to make fracking a reality in New York State and begin issuing drilling permits in the second quarter of 2012. The Governor’s latest tactic is to suppress the ability of the State’s citizenry to make public comment on the recently published draft Supplemental Generic Impact Statement (dSGEIS) and the regulations issued on September 28th, that codify the permit conditions under which drilling will be allowed in New York State into law. The public comment has been limited to only 90 days on the dSGEIS and less than that on the regulations. There are only four scheduled public hearings on both documents and the available time per speaker is expected to be limited to only three minutes.

Considering the importance of this decision, the amount of reliable science that indicates severe risk to public health due to threats to our water, air and land, the length of the documents for which testimony is being generated, the devastation that has been wreaked upon the public in next door Pennsylvania and many other factors – it is clear that the Governor and the DEC are not interested in hearing the public’s sentiment or collecting expert testimony. They have apparently already made up their minds that the potential for increased tax revenue from fracking is more important than the public’s health and have decided to squelch public sentiment.

As an example of this tactic, at the meeting held on September 22nd by the New York City Council’s Committee of Environmental Protection on the dSGEIS and NYC’s Water Supply, when Committee Chair James Gennaro was asked on the record if the Governor had attempted to prevent this meeting, he responded by saying “Yes, they did not want this hearing to happen, but we’re doing it anyway.”

Further, when the gas drilling regulations were released, Councilman Gennaro had harsh criticism for the DEC on their process, “The regulations released today are, essentially, the illegitimate progeny of the DEC’s fatally-flawed draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement which was completed a mere three weeks ago.  In a legitimate environmental regulatory process, the environmental impact statement (EIS) – which is supposed to inform the drafting of environmental regulations – is finalized before the drafting of regulations is commenced.” 

Here’s where you come in. It’s critical that our representatives and the press see the largest and most motivated crowds possible at all of the public forums that are taking place over the next weeks and months. Please participate in and attend as many of these events as you can.

This Thursday, October 6th, the Environmental Conservation Committee chaired by Robert Sweeney will hold the first public forum in Albany that will take a critical look at the dSGEIS. It may be the only time that DEC representatives will be questioned about the permit conditions and regulations. Please attend if you can, but also, please call your state representative to ask them to attend and question the DEC about the major flaws in the dSGEIS. Click here for the time and location of the hearing and to get the phone number of your state representative.

Major Flaws in the dSGEIS

  • No adequate assessment of the serious health impacts of fracking
  • Inadequate and unclear rules about fracking in floodplains
  • Limited protection for primary aquifers
  • Fracking waste is not classified as hazardous
  • Tracking of fracking waste is left up to gas industry operators
  • Open pits for storing fracking waste have not been outlawed
  • Drilling is allowed under state-owned land
  • No comprehensive, focused plan to analyze the cumulative impact of a full build out of gas wells
  • Have ignored documented science about natural migration of methane and contaminants in drinking water

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is expected to issue their fracking regulations on October 21st without any public comment. This will also be a critical meeting to attend. Click here for location and time.

The DEC has scheduled 4 public hearings on the dSGEIS. They are in Dansville, NY on November 16, Binghamton, NY on November 17, Loch Sheldrake, NY on November 29 and New York City on November 30. A huge public presence is especially important at these meetings. Please attend as many of them as you can. Click here for times and locations.

Please take these additional actions and let the Governor and the DEC hear what the people of New York feel about their plans before it is too late:

1. Forward this message to your friends, family and neighbors and ask them to forward it on. Get educated, especially about the health issues and threats.  Please use the Catskill Mountainkeeper website as a resource.

2.  Sign our petition to ask Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Martens to extend the comment period to 180 days.

3. Help Catskill Mountainkeeper to continue to help you. Leading this fight is an expensive undertaking.  In addition to travel, research, staff time and public outreach we are now gearing up for the legal fight, the next step. Please give generously.

Beacon Water Quality Notification: Update #1, as of Friday evening 9/30/11


Riverkeeper returned to the Beacon Harbor discharge on Friday and found the flow from the pipe was stronger than when we sampled last on Friday September 23rd. The characteristic sewage smell and grey color were still evident. 

We sampled the water quality at 9 PM sharp, just before low tide when the sewage discharge was separate and distinct from river water. We were unable to resample earlier in the day because the tide was unusually high and up to the discharge pipe.

The Enterococcus levels were again higher than our measurement limit using a 1 in 10 dilution, >24,196 Entero per 100 ml.  That is greater than 397 times the EPA guideline for acceptable water quality for primary contact – 61 Enterococcus per 100/ml. The water from this discharge pipe is very contaminated with sewage.

As of 9/30, this discharge has been active since Friday the 17th (at least) when it was first reported to Riverkeeper  –  that’s 14 days. There was no signage or police tape at the site to warn the public against contacting the contaminated water.

testing tray

Sample tray from 9 PM, 9/30 sample, 1/10 dilution. All wells fluorescing indicating result >24,196 Entero per 100 ml – more than 397 times the EPA guideline for acceptable water quality (61 Entero per 100/ml).