Exploring Improper Gas Industry Access to DEC Regulatory Proposals
(New York, NY) Following recent revelations about potentially inappropriate involvement between the gas industry and the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding proposed hydrofracking regulations, Senator Avella and the Senate Democratic Conference held a public forum today in New York City. The forum was attended by members of the Democratic Conference, as well as environmental activists, legislators, economists, healthcare professionals and residents from throughout New York State.
“This comes at a critical time as our state government is preparing to allow gas companies to drill in New York State before we know what the lasting health, environmental, seismic and economic impacts such a move would lead to,” Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson said. “We must not allow ourselves to act rashly on the hopes of financial gain, without fully understanding this process and how it will affect New York State for generations to come.”
Today’s forum explored the potentially inappropriate influence and access given to the gas industry by the DEC regarding the review of proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations, prior to the formal release issued to the public. Furthermore the Senate members heard testimony regarding recent allegations of wrong doing and a federal probe to investigate the companies that would seek to drill here in New York.
“As the state appears to accelerate its plans for certification amidst ethical concerns and before adequate knowledge is provided or regulations put into place, it is vital that we inform the public about the very real concerns associated with the hydrofracking process itself and the state’s review,” Senator Tony Avella stated. “As a result, until we know what companies will be pumping into our ground and how those chemicals may impact future generations of New Yorkers, we must stop hydrofracking from proceeding.”
The Senate Democrats have consistently advocated for the state to take a cautious approach to hydrofracking and have pushed for a health impact study to be initiated before any drilling is allowed.
“The more information that surfaces, and more is revealed every week, the clearer it becomes that hydraulic fracturing poses very grave risks to New York State,” Senator Velmanette Montgomery stated. “Long term, catastrophic damage for the entire state for the benefit of energy companies is completely unacceptable. Thank you, Senator Avella, for keeping the focus on this critical issue.”
“I don’t think we should put substances in our water that we can’t pronounce and that we can’t be certain won’t poison us and our precious drinking water supply,” said Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. “Shooting a toxic cocktail of ethan-diol potassium hydroxide, ammonia persulfate magnesium nitrate, cristabolite polyethyoxylated alkanol, formaldehyde sodium hydroxide and many other suspect chemicals into the earth, with potentially irreversible environmental and public health impacts, isn’t worth the risk. However, if hydrofracking does ultimately go forward – against our better judgment – it is imperative that we have strict, smart laws and regulations in place to safeguard New York’s environment and residents from harm.”
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins stated, “The importance of this forum to explore and discuss the safety and the economic impact of hydraulic fracturing in this State cannot be overstated. We must understand exactly what the health and safety risks to the public are before allowing oil and gas companies to engage in this type of natural gas drilling. I am pleased the Democratic Conference is out front on this important issue and am looking forward to getting real answers. The people of New York deserve nothing less than a thorough and complete assessment of all the impacts of this process.”
“Simply put, hydrofracking is dangerous, as other parts of the country have learned the hard way,” State Senator Jose Peralta stated. “Common sense dictates that we put the public’s health ahead of corporate profit.”
“Drilling for natural gas is a complex process filled with risks and unanswered questions. This forum will provide the public, who should have the loudest voice in this process, to share their concerns and be given the opportunity to fully understand the implications of hydraulic-fracturing. While there may be opportunities for short-term financial gain in some communities, we cannot do so at the expense of future generations. I want to thank Senator Avella and my colleagues in the Democratic Conference for remaining steadfast and keeping the pressure on DEC to do the right thing. This is not something the state should take lightly, they need to take their time and allow for a thorough and exhaustive review of both short term and long term effects,” said Senator Martin Malave Dilan.
Senator Thomas K. Duane said, “I am truly proud of the work that concerned residents, environmental advocates and elected officials have done thus far to prevent the dangerous and harmful practice of hydrofracking from occurring in New York State. In 2010, New York implemented the first statewide moratorium on fracking in the nation. Together we raised awareness about the technique’s devastating impacts, and mobilized immense opposition to it in our State. But our work is far from over. I am deeply concerned that DEC will continue moving forward with its ill-conceived plan to permit this dangerous drilling. Furthermore, the revelation that DEC gave the drilling industry a head start on shaping its proposed regulations is very troubling. Industry representatives, like all stakeholders, had an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed regulations during the public comment period — which I and others fought to extend. If the industry has any factual information to share, such as estimated costs of complying with regulations, it must do so on the record. The fight for the protection of our environment and our public health must take place on an even and very public playing field.”
Senator Adriano Espaillat stated, “No amount of profits for oil and natural gas companies is worth ruining New York’s drinking water supply. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in taking on hydrofracking and preventing dangerous chemicals and other pollutants from doing irreparable damage to our environment. As a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, I will continue to work with my Democratic colleagues in standing up for our environment and passing on to our children the same quality of land, water, and air that we inherited.”
“The recent allegations linking the gas industry to the DEC concerning hydrofracking are highly alarming, particularly when our state’s greatest natural resources hang in the balance,” Senator Gustavo Rivera stated. “We cannot continue to allow money and power to stand in front of the health and safety of our citizens. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the Democratic Conference in bringing transparency to this process and highlighting the real concerns associated with the hydrofracking process.”
“The scientific evidence is already overwhelming, and it just continues to mount: hydrofracking is not safe,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “Just last week, ProPublica reported on new findings from scientists with Duke University and California State Polytechnic University suggesting that water and chemicals deep underground in Northern Pennsylvania’s gas-drilling regions can and do travel thousands of feet upward into water supplies nearer the surface. We cannot risk the safety of the water supply in any corner of the state, and we need to wait until the science unequivocally shows that this practice is 100 percent safe. At this point, anything else would be dangerously irresponsible.”
“As lawmakers it’s our responsibility to ensure that we take every precaution when it comes to protecting the health of New Yorkers,” said Senator José M. Serrano. “Other states have suffered regrettable consequences from hydrofracking that could have been avoided by further study of this technology and by closing the loopholes that would authorize vertical drilling to persist. I commend Senator Avella and my Senate colleagues for taking a stand on this issue, and I look forward to continuing our work to protect families throughout the state.”
Senator Bill Perkins stated, “Hydrofracking puts our children at risk especially in communities of color, where too often they experience environmental pollutants like lead paint poisoning, asbestos and vehicular emissions, that contribute to asthma and related health problems.”
“We can’t allow fracking to become the mistake our generation makes for the next. It’s time for New York to take a comprehensive look at fracking’s potential impacts and – in the mean time – implement a state-wide ban. Too much is at stake to take this risk,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “Thank you to Senator Avella for hosting today’s forum, and to all of my colleagues and advocates who have made their voices heard on the dangers of fracking.”
Exploring Improper Gas Industry Access to DEC Regulatory Proposals