Raul Larios

Don’t F**ck with New York!

Dont Frack with New York 3Some of you might remember that about a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing in New York State.  After some extensive research, followed by a long conversation with Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Health Committee at the State Assembly in Albany, I became convinced that the environmental risks to New Yorkers far outweigh any economic benefits. You can read the post here: (https://raullarios.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/new-yorkers-do-you-think-hydro-fracking-is-bad-for-your-health-3/)

Coincidentally, shortly after my blog post, Governor Cuomo extended the 4-year old moratorium on fracking in New York, to allow for a more in-depth assessment of the impact to our health.  This extension was applauded by most everybody except, of course, the oil and gas industry.  And they are mad!

The industry has been flexing its very powerful lobbying muscle and putting incredible pressure on Governor Cuomo to start to move things their way.  And they are getting some results:

Consider, for example, that the state agency responsible for drafting the regulations to oversee the fracking process were it to be approved (the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, or DEC) took the unusual step of choosing another Cuomo-controlled state agency, the Department of Health (DOH), to review the DEC’s internal analysis on the potential health impacts — instead of a totally independent non-governmental evaluation.

Moreover, this examination is happening in total secrecy (the Cuomo administration has refused multiple requests to make the DEC’s health review public).

To make matters even worse, it seems that the Dept. of Environmental Conservation doesn’t really care what the Dept. of Health or anybody else might have to say because the DEC has already issued its revised regulations, BEFORE the completion of the DOH’s health review or the release of the final version of the DEC’s massive environmental impact study initiated in 2008.  Apparently, the Cuomo administration is beginning to buckle under the intense lobbying pressure.

Fortunately, New York law requires a 30-day period for public comment on proposed regulations that would govern fracking.  The clock started ticking in mid-December, so you only have until 5pm, January 11, 2013.  If you live in New York and believe that fracking could be detrimental to your health and that it should be banned in our state, but you don’t know exactly what to do or say during this 30-day public comment period that expires January 11th, here is a great website that can help you: http://www.frackaction.com/2012/12/12/lets-make-some-comments/ .

Or you can use the comments that I have personally submitted to the DEC website.  I’m making them available in the “Reply Section” below.  Feel free to copy the ones that make the most sense to you, and submit them under your name.

You can submit your comments to the following DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html

Or you can mail them to:

Attn: Draft HVHF Regulations Comments
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-6510

Take action NOW because this will probably be your last chance to make a difference on hydraulic fracturing in New York State!  Governor Cuomo is expected to make a decision by Feb. 27.

Happy New Year!!

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January 2, 2013 - Posted by | New York | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I oppose hydraulic fracturing in New York State, for the following reasons:

    Section 560.4(a)(1-3):

    Section 560 560.4 Setbacks

    (a) No well pad or portion of a well pad may be located:

    (1) within 500 feet from a residential water well, domestic supply spring or water well or spring used as a water supply for livestock or crops;

    (2) within 500 feet from an inhabited dwelling or place of assembly;

    (3) within a primary aquifer and a 500-foot buffer from the boundary of a primary aquifer

    MY CONCERNS – “Primary” aquifers are underground pools of water that supply drinking water to major municipalities. There are 18 of them in New York state. “Principal” aquifers, by contrast, provide drinking water to smaller communities and to families with private wells. Note that setback protections for “principal” aquifers do not exist at all.

    Thus, people living in large municipalities are afforded more protection than citizens in rural communities. This is UNFAIR to the rural communities!

    Also, setbacks apply only to the well pads on the surface, not to the underground wellbores. Consequently, horizontal drilling underneath both kinds of aquifers is, in essence, being allowed. Drilling under lakes and rivers is also allowed. No consideration is given to natural faults in the bedrock, which can act as pathways for the migration of methane and other chemicals. This is short-sighted and DANGEROUS!

    Finally, the proposed regulations do not require monitoring wells. (Mandated for other industries, a monitoring well is used to obtain samples of groundwater to periodically test for the presence of pollutants.) Thus, New Yorkers who rely on groundwater – and there are nearly five million of them – would only know there’s a problem when they come into contact with contaminated water (by way of showering or drinking the tap water) and developing rashes, nausea, vomiting or more serious illnesses. In essence, under these regulations, the showers and kitchen faucets of homeowners would serve as THE monitoring wells for the gas industry. Using New Yorkers as guinea pigs for the industry is damn near CRIMINAL!

    For all the reasons above, I support the BAN of fracking in New York!

    Comment by Raul Larios | January 3, 2013 | Reply

  2. I oppose fracking in New York State, and favor a total BAN, for the following reasons:

    Section 560.7(i) of your proposed regulations requires companies only to test for radioactive agents, but not to prevent their release into the environment in the first place.

    According to the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP), fracking the Marcellus Shale in New York State has the potential to result in the production of large amounts of waste materials containing the highly radioactive materials Radium-226 and Radium-228. That’s because the Marcellus Shale is terribly radioactive (even compared to other shale bedrocks).

    When radium is extracted from deep within the earth in the fracking process, it has the potential to contaminate the environment for thousands of years, if not properly handled. In my opinion, your proposed regulations do NOT put in place any precautions for preventing the release of said radioactive materials into the environment.

    People can be exposed to radioactive materials from drilling and fracking operations when trucks hauling waste materials travel past their homes; or when radioactive brine is spread on roads as a de-icing agent; or when radioactive wastewater is discharged into rivers that serve as downstream drinking water sources; or when crops are grown on contaminated soil; or when farm animals ingest radioactive deposits on plants.

    For all the reasons above, I oppose fracking in New York State and favor a total BAN.

    Comment by Raul Larios | January 4, 2013 | Reply

  3. I oppose fracking in New York State, and favor a total BAN, for the following reasons:

    Section 560.7 (a-c), which would regulate the management and disposal of fracking waste fluids, only specifies WHEN and HOW fracking waste should be carried away from the well, but not WHERE its final resting place must be. This oversight is of great concern because fracking waste can be highly toxic, even radioactive.

    Because of the infamous Dick Cheney-sponsored “Halliburton Loophole”, which was inserted into the 2005 Energy Policy Act (thereby exempting hydrofracking from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Superfund Act), it is common knowledge that the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation does not consider fracking waste as “toxic”.

    Yet, over 50 scientists recently wrote to Governor Cuomo warning that sewage treatment plants will not be able to remove these Halliburton-Loophole-chemicals from the millions of gallons of wastewater generated by fracking. That’s because fracking flowback water can contain benzene, biocides, and radiation. These may be considered as “safe” by the Halliburton Loophole (as long as they emanate from a fracking wellpad), but NOT under any other circumstance.

    Your proposed regulations should NOT leave it up to the drillers to come up with their own profit-motivated plans for the ultimate disposal sites of fracking waste.

    For all the reasons above, I oppose fracking in New York State and favor a total BAN.

    Comment by Raul Larios | January 4, 2013 | Reply


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