Queens, NY, November 30, 2011 -- With our state on the cusp of venturing into uncharted territory with a natural gas drilling technique known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing – also commonly referred to as “hydrofracking” – Governor Andrew Cuomo, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and elected officials need to be well-versed and prepared for the serious ramifications our environment may encounter, and possible changes to our way of life, should hydrofracking fluids contaminate our water supply. I applaud the DEC’s efforts to host and consider testimony through public hearings in reference to the significant issue of hydrofracking.
Unfortunately, my schedule does not permit me to physically be at the hearings, but I eagerly submit this statement to testify against the process of drilling for natural gas through hydrofracking methods. While I am not opposed to other processes of drilling for natural gas, I am concerned about the mixture of chemicals being used to extract this gas from rock formations using the hydrofracking method. I do not want Nitrilopropionamide Glycol Ethers, Butoxyethanol, Isothiazolin, Hemicellulase Enzyme, Hydrochloric Acid, Acetic Acid, Alphatic Acid Isopropanol, Alphatic Alcohol Polyglycol Ether Isopropyl Alcohol, Ammonia Persulfate Magnesium Nitrate, Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mesh Sand, Aromatic Ketones Methanol, Boric Acid Mineral Spirits, Boric Oxide Monoethanolamine, Citric Acid Petroleum Distillates, Cristobalite Polyethoxylated Alkanol, Quartz Polyethoxylated Alkanol, Dazomet Polyethylene Glycol Mixture, Diatomaceus Earth Polysaccharide, Ethane-diol Potassium Hydroxide, Ethoxlated Alcohol, Ethoxylated Alcohol Propan, Ethoxylated Octylphenol Propargyl Alcohol, Ethylene Glycol Propylene, Ethylhexanol Sodium Bicarbonate, Ferrous Sulfate Heptahydrate Sodium Chloride, Formaldehyde Sodium Hydroxide, Glutaraldehyde Sucrose, Tetramethylammonium Chloride, or any of the other foreign items found in hydrofracking anywhere near our state’s water supply.
The interchangeable mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals being used to break up the rock base can contaminate our water supply, a supply that encompasses more than 15 billion gallons of daily water taken from New York State’s lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and groundwaters.
As evident in neighboring states, the process to extract natural gas is flawed and requires extensive guidance from the DEC and from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I perceive the concept to drill as soon as possible in New York State is being done in haste when protests and valid testimony are being presented on a daily basis. Natural gas drilling companies and supporters of this practice have so much to gain from enlisting further input from protestors and impacted individuals from neighboring states where evaluations of methods and testimony can produce alternative environmentally sound drilling techniques.
I have taken instrumental steps at the New York State Senate to advocate for legislation that would allow for New York State to issue permits to natural gas drilling companies only after the EPA has released their comments and guidelines regarding such drilling activity. In addition, should the State venture on commencing drilling prior to the EPA report, I had introduced legislation where radioactivity in drilling waste would need to be treated before being accepted or discharged by any permit holder. Federal studies have indicated consumed radioactive waste, whether by drinking or eating, can cause cancer and other health problems. Reports have stated that approximately 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s water is contaminated with the fluids found in the hydrofracking drilling done in that state. Currently, New York State’s treatment plants are not equipped to remove such carcinogens from the chemicals contained within hydrofracking fluids. Therefore, it is my belief that there is no rational reason for New York State to proceed with issuing permits for a harmful procedure. Our state cannot seek to create upstate jobs, but at the same time create a long-term, harmful condition for people throughout the state.
I respectfully request that Governor Cuomo, DEC and elected officials listen and pay attention to the adverse risks known to be present in the hydraulic fracturing techniques. Unless the process is addressed in a way where our water supply is, with absolute certainty, not susceptible to contamination, that our land is free from toxic chemicals, and our quality of life is not disrupted from frivolous neglectful actions, I then wholeheartedly urge the State to proceed with caution. I believe that if any doubt as to the safety of the hydrofracking process exists, we should not proceed to issue any permits.
It is my intent to continue fighting against this natural gas drilling process until all negative aspects are addressed and resolved. Thank you for the opportunity to express my position regarding this important environmental and safety issue.
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