Do you know what the direct impact of fracking will be on your family’s health, your personal finances, the value of your real estate and your local community’s ability to deliver services in the future?  Hear the compelling story of what has happened to one family and their farm.

We’re quickly moving toward the endgame on fracking In New York State.  New Yorkers only have until December 12, 2011 to comment on the proposed regulations that will govern gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing In New York State.  After that, unless we act together, we can expect drilling permits to be issued in early 2012 and drilling to start soon thereafter.

While many of you have followed the fracking issue with interest and concern, we’re worried that you don’t have enough understanding of how the commencement of drilling will directly affect you.  So over the coming weeks we’ll be sending you information about exactly how drilling can impact you, your family and your community. We’ll also outline how to take action and tell the DEC what’s wrong with their plan.

Today we would like to offer you the opportunity to learn from the first person account of Libby Foust. Libby is a resident of the Finger Lakes region of New York State. There is no question that what happened at Libby’s farm in Bradford County PA is going to happen in the Finger Lakes, the Catskills and all over New York State. Here’s her story:

Libby Foust“Our family farm is in Bradford County, Pa.  Our farm was one of the first well sites chosen and is now one of hundreds, soon to be thousands.

When the folks in Pennsylvania first heard of the wells coming, they were excited. No one had ever experienced the drilling business, so there was nothing to fear. They had toiled their whole lives just to make ends meet, and maybe this was the road to a better life.

Then they came. Trucks by the hundreds, tankers, dump trucks, drilling rigs, fracking rigs. Five-acre drilling pads were bulldozed in the middle of farmers’ best fields, million-gallon ponds were installed, roads were built, woods and fields were trenched and bulldozed for tie lines. Drilling rigs went up at an unbelievable rate. From one spot on our farm, I counted eight rigs. Then the generators started. You could hear them a half-mile away. Then the pumping stations — small, industrial sites with buildings and pipes sticking up out of the ground.

They put one of these at the end of our little dirt road. Now the woods are gone and the dirt road is a main thoroughfare. One entire field is a pumping station. When I first saw this, I cried. This industry is like a swarm of locusts, leaving destruction and a lasting impact on the environment.

But it goes much deeper than this. It creates greed and pits neighbor against neighbor, even dividing families. Back home, all rental properties now house gas people, as the landlords raised the rents so high that longtime tenants were forced to move. Every parking area is lined with pipes and equipment associated with the gas business. Roads have been destroyed and are barely passable. Motorists are being forced off the road by a steady stream of big rigs and trucks. People who are used to a few cars going by their house now have to endure 100 tractor-trailers a day. I went up to our well site and counted 80 tankers lined up so closely that you couldn’t fit between them.

The gas companies do put on a good show. They have a nice booth at the fair. They buy bicycle helmets for the kids. They pay to have the walkways at the fairgrounds paved. They are always presenting a check for this and a check for that. Their pictures are always in the paper for doing good deeds. What a joke. That’s Bradford County.

The Finger Lakes area has been blessed with so much natural beauty — the gorges, the lakes, the vineyards. We have so much to protect. We want our fields to be green so our children can walk through them. We need our water to be clean, not only for ourselves but for our livestock and marine life. If they start drilling, what’s going to happen to the water in our lakes? What’s going to happen if there is a drilling accident and people’s homes start filling up with methane gas? Don’t think it can happen? In northern Pennsylvania, it already has. I urge you to protect this area, its residents, its natural beauty and our way of life from the ravages of the gas industry.”

Now is the time to act to protect your health, home and community.

The DEC is accepting comments to the regulations that they propose will govern gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing in New York State – – and there are many, many things wrong with these regulations including:

· No adequate assessment of the impact to local roads and bridges, the impact on rental prices or the impact on the environment

· No comprehensive, focused plan to analyze the cumulative impact of a full build out of gas wells

· Inadequate protection of drinking water

· No health assessment

Please take the following actions:

·  Click here to tell the DEC what’s wrong with their plan  by submitting written comments on the SDGEIS.

·  Click here for a more detailed analysis of the major flaws in the DEC’s plan.

· Plan to go to as many of the public hearings scheduled by the DEC as possible:
Dansville, NY  – November 16
Binghamton, NY, November 17
Loch Sheldrake, NY, November 29
New York City, November 30

A huge public presence is especially important at these meetings.  Click here for times and locations.

· Forward this message to your friends, family and neighbors and ask them to pass it on. 

· Use the Catskill Mountainkeeper website as a resource. Get educated, especially about the health issues and threats.

· Sign on to our petition;  Join over 3200 people who have already signed asking Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Martens to extend the comment period to 180 days so a thorough review can be done.  

· 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 as generously as you can.


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