Gas drilling cart before the horse

in

To The Editor:
A recent EPA report on the contamination of groundwater by frack fluid exposes that hydraulic fracturing gas drilling can be a risky operation. Whether you are in favor of this gas drilling in our area, or against it, you should let the DEC know of any concerns you have with their SGEIS. The DEC is taking comments on the SGEIS until January 11, 2012.  

You can read the document at http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/75370.html , and you can leave your comments online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html or by snail mail at Attn: dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway,  Albany, NY 12233-6510. 

Some areas of concern are:
The SGEIS does not include a study of the effects of drilling on human health.  Despite the fact that fracking-related air pollution and potential water contamination have serious effects on people, especially the elderly and children, and communities downwind and downstream of drilling operations, DEC has not included an analysis of public health impacts or to meaningfully incorporated the Department of Health into the fracking review.

The SGEIS does not address how this industrial activity will change our small rural communities, culture and scenic environment.  It does not respect Home Rule powers to control land use and industrial development through zoning.

The SGEIS does not include a list of chemicals used in this process nor does it exclude any extremely hazardous chemicals from use.   These chemicals are dangerous because they can migrate underground and they also expose us to risk of spills on site and during transportation to and from the well pads.

The use of open pits is not banned.  This impacts air quality in addition to the risk of spills from these open pits .

No drilling or waste or chemical storage should be allowed in the 100-year flood plain. We have seen what floodwaters can do; this stuff should not be in its path.

The SGEIS does not ban the treatment of frack water by our local sewage treatment plants.  These plants are not designed to handle the chemicals or radioactivity of this wastewater. Because the wastewater treatment plants can’t treat the chemicals used in hydrofracking, nor the radioactive waste, this toxic waste ends up in our waterways.

Regulations for the gas industry are being written before the SGEIS is completed. How could these regulations be complete if the total environmental impact has not been completely defined?
If these or any other issues concern you, please let Governor Cuomo and the DEC know.

Ann Roberti,
Andes