PROTECTING NEW YORK’S DRINKING WATER
Senator Savino Joins Democratic Colleagues, Actor Mark Ruffalo, Residents & Advocates to Urge Moratorium on Gas Drilling Which Could Pollute NYC’s Drinking Water (New York, NY) Gas drilling in New York could contaminate the drinking water of more than 12 million NYC-area residents. Putting public safety over the interests of gas companies, the Senate Democratic Majority has passed legislation mandating a temporary moratorium on gas drilling (“hydro-fracking”) to ensure adequate time to research safety measures and regulations. The Senate, on August 3, 2010, overwhelmingly passed S8129B/Thompson by a vote of 48-9. This bill provides for a suspension, until May 15, 2011, of the issuance of new permits for the drilling of a well which utilizes the practice of hydraulic fracturing. The legislation is now awaiting action by the Assembly before it can be sent to the Governor for his support. This moratorium will help to accomplish several goals, including:· Providing an extended period of time to study this new technology before permits are issued and drilling is allowed.· Ensuring environmental experts and the public have time to review any proposed regulations and offer ways to make them stronger.· Allocating enough time for the Legislature to review the DEC’s conclusions on the environmental impact of the gas drilling. Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said, “Now is not the time to be risking our state’s most precious natural resource and a commodity that’s becoming increasingly rare—clean drinking water. We do not need to look any further than the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico to realize that there is no financial benefit worth risking the safety of New York’s water supply. Until the public impact has been sufficiently assessed, we cannot endanger the drinking water source for millions of New Yorkers. I commend Senator Thompson for his leadership on this issue.” Mark Ruffalo, actor (“Shutter Island”, “The Kids Are All Right”) and spokesperson for Frack Action said, “I’ve met people from Pennsylvania who are dealing with the consequences of fracking. They trusted the gas industry when they said this technology was safe, clean, and secure. And now many families can’t drink their water, their kids are getting sick, and their homes have dropped in value. Time is of the essence, we must learn from the mistakes of other states and keep our water safe.” Susan Zimet, co-Director of Frack Action said, "The NY State Senate showed real leadership and the world has taken notice as far away as Australia. In response to the passage, their moratorium is back on the table. I know the Governor and Speaker Silver will act on behalf of all New Yorkers by passing this moratorium and signing it into law. The pressure will be great to stop them but they know that the health and safety of our families are at stake." Julia Walsh, co-Director of Frack Action said, "We are at a moment of crisis. Communities across the country are being ravaged by the irresponsible behavior of an industry that puts corporate profit over the health and safety of people. The NY State Senate has taken decisive action to protect New Yorkers.” What Is Hydro-Fracking?Hydro-fracking is the process of breaking apart the rock under the earth, in which some natural resources are trapped, by forcing millions of gallons of waters mixed with chemicals into the ground. These chemicals then work their way into the regular water supply. The side effects of this process are extraordinarily costly and personally devastating, as families across Pennsylvania and other states have learned after rushing into drilling. The public health concerns are well documented and economically, if something went wrong, New Yorkers cannot afford to foot the bill. On top of the economic and health concerns, there are considerable safety hazards within the untested drilling process. Since May there have been two instances of gas wells exploding, and both took lives. The extended time to research and study hydro-fracking technology provided by the moratorium will ensure New York does not join states like Pennsylvania and suffer the same consequences. Our state must take the alternate path to study this new technology and its effects in order to appropriately protect both our people and our environment. The first step preserving safety for New Yorkers has been taken by the Senate, and as the DEC is beginning to prepare for the drilling license process it is crucial that the Assembly takes immediate action.