Officials Call for Statewide Ban on Fracking in New York

Tony Avella

January 26, 2012

NEW YORK—Officials and environmental advocacy groups joined together on Wednesday to call for a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as the comment period for fracking rules, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) revised draft of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), comes to an end.

Throughout the public comment period, New Yorkers have consistently opposed the fracking rules. A Freedom of Information Law request to the DEC revealed that all comments from opponents outnumbered those by supporters by at least a 10-to-1 margin.

“At four public hearings and in thousands of public comments, New Yorkers sent a message to Gov. Cuomo: fracking is inherently dangerous and should be banned,” said Eric Weltman, senior organizer for Food & Water Watch, a national consumer group, who hand-delivered over 4,500 comments in support of a ban.

State Sen. Tony Avella, author of legislation that would ban hydrofracking in New York state (S.4220), stated, “New Yorkers from all over the state have spoken and the message is loud and clear; hydrofracking is not worth the risk of contamination to our water, farmlands, and communities!”

Over 21,000 organizations, doctors, scientists, engineers, and citizens have signed a letter drafted by Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting calling on Gov. Cuomo to immediately withdraw the SGEIS, which according to Congressman Maurice Hinchey, “falls far short of what is needed to protect local communities from the risks posed by shale gas drilling and does not fully mitigate potential threats, including those to public health, drinking water, air quality, and municipal infrastructure.”