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Nineteen Local Organizations Ask Gov. Cuomo & DEC for 180-Day Comment Period & Public Hearings for Fracking Guidelines

August 15, 2011

Nineteen Local Organizations Ask Gov. Cuomo & DEC for 180-Day Comment Period & Public Hearings for Fracking Guidelines


(Cooperstown, NY)—Otsego 2000, Sustainable Otsego, and seventeen other Otsego county organizations concerned about the environmental impacts of dirty gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” called on Governor Cuomo and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today to hold no less than a 180-day comment period and statewide public hearings on the state’s proposed fracking guidelines, formally known as the revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Statement (SGEIS). Elected officials, organizations and citizens from Albany, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, and Syracuse echoed these concerns.

Adrian Kuzminski, moderator of Sustainable Otsego, said, “New Yorkers in the Otsego region deserve more than a mere 180 days to review a thousand-page document that could determine the future health and safety of this county. An extended comment period is vital to introduce and assess new evidence that high-volume hydraulic fracturing may be too risky and costly to be justified as public policy."

Otsego 2000 and Sustainable Otsego released a letter to the Governor and Commissioner Martens calling for the 180-day comment period along with public hearings in at least the same four areas where the DEC held hearings on the 2009 draft fracking document, Binghamton, Sullivan County, New York City and Delaware County. They also called on state leaders to hold hearings in as many of the communities likely to be affected by fracking, including Otsego County, Western New York and the Hudson Valley. Many New Yorkers in these areas did not have the opportunity to attend a public hearing in 2009.

Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, stated that “if Governor Cuomo plans to allow fracking to proceed in New York, Otsego residents whose daily lives will be impacted by increased industrial activity, increased truck traffic, and spills or accidents need the time to fully understand and weigh in on the state’s proposed plan,”

The DEC’s preliminary revised draft fracking assessment with proposed guidelines was released in July. The complete revised draft is expected to be released for public comment and review in late summer or early fall.

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.

In addition to Otsego 2000, Sustainable Otsego, Brewery Ommegang, and the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, the local neighborhood advocacy groups signing on to the letter include Advocates for Cherry Valley, Advocates for Morris, Advocates for Springfield, Butternut Valley Alliance, Crumhorn Lake Association, Crumhorn Rod and Gun Club, Friends of Butternuts, Middlefield Neighbors, Milford DOERs, Otsego 2000, Inc., Otsego Neighbors, Residents of Crumhorn, Roseboom Owners Awareness Response (ROAR) Against Fracking, Sharon Springs Against Hydrofracking, Unadilla Town Community Advocates, Upper Unadilla Valley Association, and Westford Neighbors.

Otsego 2000 is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1981 to protect the environmental, scenic, cultural and historic resources of the Otsego Lake region and northern Otsego County.

Sustainable Otsego is a framework for people advocating and implementing sustainable practices in Otsego County, New York.

FINAL sign on letter for rdsgeis public participation.pdf

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