Senator Co-sponsored Bill S8129B Calling for Hydrofracking Moratorium in Upstate Watershed
Queens, NY, December 15, 2010 -- "Just imagine that your son or daughter pours themselves a cup of water, and it's brown. Or, it's cloudy with particles and chemicals. That is exactly what is happening to families in other states--Texas, Colorado, and Pennsylvania--who have rushed into drilling for natural gas with a procedure known as hydrofracking. A Pennsylvania couple had even joined my August press conference at City Hall to share their story and show the assembled reporters the jar of brown, smelly water that comes out of their household water tap.
"My fear is their story becomes the story of our families, our schools, our senior centers and our businesses. They reported water so contaminated that it can be ignited as it comes out of the kitchen faucet; the impact is frightening and the problem could be bigger than any of us can imagine. Because not only is this water not drinkable, it also cannot be used to bathe, cook, or really be used for any purpose. The economic devastation could be enormous. The personal and economic toll may be
larger than anything we have ever faced. Not only is our drinking water in danger, but the process itself is flawed. Blow-outs in Pennsylvania earlier in the summer took the lives of three workers. All this can be avoided for our people.
"The large withdrawals of water required for hydrofracking could disrupt surface and ground water ecosystems for decades to come, and improper management of drilling and hydrofracking chemicals, drilling waste, and wastewater could pollute surface water and/or groundwater and have long-lasting impacts on our agricultural industry and environment.
"I am not against drilling for gas, but I do support the idea of holding off on all hydrofracking drilling until the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation completes its report as to the safety of this process. There is much debate as to the environmental and health impacts brought on by hydrofracking and I believe we should rationally postpone further drilling just until we know more about the safety concerns. Therefore, I strongly disagree with Governor David Paterson's
veto of the Hydrofracking Moratorium bill passed by the Legislature.
"Earlier this year and armed with factual information gathered from environmental advocates, university experts and community members, the Legislature passed a bipartisan and common-sense bill that met the real-world concerns of workers, families and farmers and that would have protected the drinkable water supply for over 12 million New Yorkers.
"But over the weekend, instead of signing this hydrofracking moratorium bill approved by both the Assembly and the Senate, the Governor chose to veto the bill. He issued an Executive Order instead, which does not fully protect the millions of New Yorkers whose access to a safe and healthy water supply could be jeopardized.
“I'm convinced that unrestricted hydrofracking activity will create a clear, present, and potentially permanent danger to the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers. Much of the Southern Tier, Central New York, the Hudson Valley and New York City draw their water from areas that will not be fully protected by the Governor’s Executive Order. Allowing the special interest influence of the few to outweigh the public safety interests of so many is disappointing.
“Once again, taxpayers are being asked by the energy industry to believe their drilling practices are safe and clean, but we need to look no further than this year's massive BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico following a deep-water drilling platform explosion, to recognize the importance of fully understanding the impact of drilling before breaking ground. Without a thoughtful and comprehensive moratorium on hydrofracking, access to clean, drinkable water will be in jeopardy, and the health of millions put at risk. That is unacceptable.
“Environmental advocates, university experts, farmers, independent policy groups, and community members played an active role in crafting our legislation. We are deeply troubled the Governor failed to heed their advice and address their concerns, and instead, caved to pressure from a small but vocal group of oil and gas industry executives who care more for their bottom line than the safety of New Yorkers.
“We're prepared to continue this fight to protect the water supply for millions of New Yorkers.”
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