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new yorkers, take note

Posted: November 10 2009
Unexpectedly even if you go off to farm in the forest-- the pastards might find some minerals or valuable petrolea under your land....petroleum

l Farm & Food Project is partnering with NOFA NY in a call to action and to alert the public of the impending dangers of the proposed hydraulic fracing of the Marcellus Shale and to strongly encourage producers, eaters and anyone who relies on clean, safe water for drinking, home use, agriculture and environmental integrity to speak out against this profoundly misguided project. Halliburton is a major player in this scheme and financially stressed property owners and farmers are being offered extremely lucrative contracts with long term residuals to allow drilling with toxic chemical compounds on their properties, the details of which the energy companies refuse to disclose as they are ‘proprietary information’. Governor Patterson has allowed the DEC process to be fast tracked in a desperate hope to generate state revenue. The comment period has been extended to December 31, 2009 and there are several scheduled listening sessions throughout the state (see below). We need as many bodies as possible at those sessions and for farmers and others to comment on how this will impact their farms, the integrity of their soils, biodiversity and food and water safety.

ProPublica has done some very impressive investigative journalism and has found of the permanently contaminated water/sludge, “It's radioactive… New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink.” Sending the tailings ‘out west’ does not solve that problem, it only moves the highly concentrated residue after filtration, into someone else’s backyard, shipped across the country – maybe – even that may not be a legal means of disposal. The net gain of the natural gas extracted is the equivalent of national consumption for estimates of 2-50 years. The half life of radium in the resulting sludge is 1,600 years.
Please take action – call, show up, review, share your concerns. To say that this plan is short sited is an almost comical understatement. We need long term sustainable solutions to our energy needs, not short term environmental disasters and long term contamination to our soils and water and wildlife extinction. The political process has become largely unresponsive unless there is a critical mass of respondents, stakeholders, voters and there is a general election next year. Together, our calls and actions will make a difference. Please pick up the phone and if possible, testify and show up at these listening sessions. Each of these calls will take less than a minute.
Thanks very much,
Gianni Ortiz
Executive Director
Regional Farm & Food Project
Governor Patterson: 518-474-8390
Senator Schumer: D.C., 202.224.6542, Albany, 518.431.4070
Senator Gillibrand: D.C., 202.224.4451, Albany, 518.431.0120
Congressman Murphy: D.C., 202.225.1168, Saratoga, 518.581.8247
Stephen Saland: Poughkeepsie, 845.463.0840
Marcus Molinaro: Red Hook, 845.758.9790
Tim Gordon: Castleton-on-Hudson, 518.479.0542
Find your Representative: http://www.congress.org
Judith Enck: I can’t find her at the moment, she has just been appointed by the Obama Administration as the Regional Head of the Environment, including New York, New Jersey and parts of the Caribbean (?)
From the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York For more information contact: Lea Kone, NOFA-NY Assistant Director 585-271-1979,[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>, www.nofany.org <http://www.nofany.org/>
November 9, 2009
*Farmers United Against Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale*
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) is appalled at the shallow analysis of the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracing in the Marcellus Shale in New York State provided by the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS) released by the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). NOFA-NY condemns the proposed regulations set forth by the DEC of hydraulic fracturing as utterly inadequate to protect New York State’s water, agriculture and citizenry.
Professional research, investigative journalism and anecdotal accounts have indicated a significant gap in what is included in the dSGEIS and what research still needs to be done to answer the continually increasing list of potential concerns. The dSGEIS does not address the cumulative impact of gas wells on the environment, but addresses only the impact of one well at a time. This is a an utterly irresponsible starting point, one that begins with a growing list of general concerns NOFA-NY has for the safety and health of all of New York State’s citizens, animals, soil and water systems.
In the western states of the USA, the contamination rate of water wells runs between 2% and 8%, with many illnesses and adverse health effects recorded.
NOFA-NY recommends that the practice of drawing from aquifers for the purpose of hydraulic fracing be banned, because the water quantities in aquifers are limited, often shallow, and not measurable. Farms, private wells, and many rural townships are dependent on these finite aquifers, which often go dry in droughts. A single well requires a minimum 3 million gallons of water for this process (approximately a football field 30 feet high in water). That’s a lot of water that will be pumped out of local rivers and streams and hauled to well sites scattered around the region. Much of the 809-page document is devoted to water issues in which it considers impacts of large water withdrawals – water that, because of the chemicals used to hydraulically fracture (frac) the shale can never be returned to the watershed. New York Farm Bureau policy also supports banning the use of water from aquifers for the purpose of hydraulic fracing.
The dSGEIS does not heed the recommendation that the chemicals in hydraulic fracing fluids be publicly disclosed before drilling, because many of these chemicals are known to be toxic, endocrine disrupters and carcinogenic. The dSGEIS addresses this concern by stating that it will require disclosure of these chemicals to the DEC only, bowing to the “proprietary” rights of the gas companies, and leaving the public utterly exposed to the consequences of these poisons. It is impossible to test wells for water contamination from fracing fluids, if the presence of these chemicals are not tested for prior to drilling.
Without public disclosure of the chemicals in fracing fluids, water wells cannot be adequately tested, and gas companies will be shielded from the liability of their contamination.
Congressmen Maurice Hinchey, Eric Massa, and Michael Arcuri from the Southern Tier are co-sponsoring the FRAC Act, which, nationwide, would require public disclosure of the chemicals in hydraulic fracing fluids, and their regulation under the Safe Water Drinking Act by the EPA. NOFA-NY and New York Farm Bureau policy supports this act as well.
Is one man’s right to water more important than the next? The Chesapeake Energy Corporation (the largest leaseholder in the Marcellus Share), stated that it will not drill for natural gas in the NYC Watershed due to the pristine nature of the unfiltered water system that provides clean and safe drinking water to millions of people. But what about the rest of New York state? Sue Smith-Heavenrich, NOFA-NY policy committee member states, “Standards that are set for the New York City Watershed, should apply for all of New York.”
In Dimock Pennsylvania, only 30 miles from New York State, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing has already begun in the Marcellus Shale.
Within a year, methane explosions of private wells and serious methane contamination of well water due to hydraulic fracing has occurred. The explosions and methane contamination were unexpected, and still have not been explained. Recently, there were three spills of fracing fluids in Dimock, seriously contaminating a stream, killing fish, and prompting the Pennsylvania DEP to suspend gas drilling by Cabot Oil and Gas Company for two weeks. In Dunkard Creek in West Virginia and Pennsylvania all 160 species of fish have died since September 1, a tragedy likely linked to an invasive specie that “hitchhiked” across state lines on drilling equipment.
With so many emerging concerns associated with fracing, New Yorkers must ask themselves is the value of natural gas such that we are willing to risk the safety and health of generations to come, the landscape of our state, and the fate of our farmland? The gas is for fifty years, the water is forever.
How can you make a difference? Attend an upcoming Public Hearing and submit comments to the DEC in response to the dSGEIS document. Comments can be submitted online anytime before the *December 31, 2009* deadline on the DEC website. <http://www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/SGEISComments/>
A copy of the full dSGEIS can be reviewed on the DEC website <http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/58440.html>.
*DEC Public Hearings*
All Session start at 7 PM (Doors open at 6 PM for speaker sign-up)
Tuesday, November 10, Stuyvesant High School, High School Auditorium,
345 Chambers St, New York, NY 10282. (Doors will open at 5:30 PM)
Thursday, November 12, Chenango Valley High School, High School Auditorium, 221 Chenango Bridge Rd, Chenango Bridge, NY 13901.
Wednesday, November 18, Corning East High School Auditorium, 201 Cantigny St, Corning, NY 14830.
For more detailed information on the link to invasive species associated with gas drilling in the Marcellus shale, see “Invasive Species Could Become a Concern with Drilling” by Sue Smith-Heavenrich, /Broader View Weekly/ October 30, 2009.


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