Fracking threatens underground streams

Never in the media or at meetings about hydrofracking that I have attended have I heard of a complete, impartial and professional geological study of this region that pinpoints underground streams vulnerable to the effects of hydrofracking.

High above some of the Finger Lakes exist deep underground streams. These supply many country wells. Some of them contribute to our lakes.

My own well is about 80 feet deep and the water has always tested pure and safe. A longtime well-driller of our area told me that our water, and others of the area, comes from a stream uphill and deep within the ground. Certainly, some of the regional vineyards might be affected by these very streams.

Do those who propose hydrofracking pay any attention to the location of these underground streams in relation to proposed drilling sites?

Such professional and unbiased surveys have been done for more than 100 years by the U.S. Geological Survey. I believe Cornell University may have done the same in various parts of Schuyler and other affected counties.

We are told that hydrofracking activities would provide considerable new employment. Once the drilling is done and wells with pipelines established, how many permanent jobs would there be for local workers?

Penn Yan Village officials plan to spend up to $15,800 to hire an outside firm to submit an electric rate adjustment filing with the Public Service Commission.

The village is seeking a mini-rate case, meaning it will ask for an adjustment to generate up to $300,000 in annual electric revenues. The last electric rate adjustment was done in 1998.

This move is based on information village board members and Municipal Board members learned during a Dec. 7 external audit meeting.

William Frietag, of Bollam, Sheedy, Torani & Co. told village officials during the audit meeting that a municipality going so long without a rate adjustment in New York State is “almost unheard of. Either your rates were a little high at first or the things you could control, you controlled nicely.”

“Your cash balances have been good, which is why the rates have held up so long,” he said.

According to the audit, Penn Yan’s expenses per retail customer are all below other municipal averages.

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State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli became the first statewide official to submit formal comments on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s hydrofracking proposal, using the opportunity to make a renewed push for a gas-drilling accident fund his office would oversee.

DiNapoli submitted a five-page letter to DEC Commissioner Joe Martens today, criticizing the agency’s draft proposals for failing “to adequately address the issue of remediation of contamination resulting from natural gas production.”

High-volume hydrofracking involves a pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals that is blasted deep underground to unlock gas from shale formations. The gas-rich Marcellus Shale sits underneath the Southern Tier and parts of the Catskills.

In August, DiNapoli proposed a bill that would create a fund—paid for by a fee on gas drillers—that would cover the cost of cleanup from gas-drilling accidents when liability is up in the air. Gas companies, however, were cool to the idea, and the bill has yet to pick up a majority sponsor in the Senate.

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COHOCTON — While many town boards in Livingston County are looking at passing moratoriums on hydrofracking, the Town of Cohocton has taken a different step.

During its Dec. 19 regular meeting, Town resident Harold Kiesl asked the board if they intend to pass a moratorium on hydrofracking, or publicly state where the board stands on the issue as a whole.

Zigenfus said the town is waiting to see what the final Department of Environmental Conservation’s recommendations are, plus receive recommendations from the town and village planning board before going further with discussing a moratorium.

But Zigenfus said he has already been looking at “home rule” issues, which has been brought to the Town recently.

Town attorney Pat McAllister explained further, stating there is complexity at this time on the state constitutional home rule – a municipality’s right to pass local zoning laws – regarding hydrofracking.

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Eco Politics Daily, a blog of the New York League of Conservation Voters, is reporting that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens has said the agency plans to have a consultant study how natural gas exploration will impact such things as the housing market and emergency services if high volume hydraulic fracturing is approved in New York state.

An earlier report by the outside firm, Ecology & Environment, released in September, concluded that natural gas drilling in New York could create anywhere from 6,000 to 37,000 jobs.

Also, according to the report by Eco Politics Daily, the consultants are being asked to recommend taxes and fees that could be levied on drillers to cover industry oversight, which DEC official estimate could cost about $20 million per year and call for 140 new DEC workers in the first year and 226 by the fifth year of drilling.

The Patterson Republican held a conference call with Assemblyman Robert Castelli, R-Golden’s Bridge, to push a one-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. (Hydrofracking is the much-debated technique used with gas drilling that is currently on hold in the state.)

The bill, which Ball said is currently being drafted with Assembly EnCon Chair Robert Sweeney, a Democrat, is sure to gain the support of the heavy Democratic majority in the Assembly, but will be a much tougher sell in the Republican-held Senate. The Senate’s second-ranking member, Tom Libous of Binghamton, has been an outspoken advocate of hydrofracking and drilling, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has pledged support as well. (Skelos, as minority leader in 2010, voted in favor of a six-month moratorium on hydrofracking.)

If nothing else, the push shows how split the Legislature is on hydrofracking. Democrats in both houses are generally opposed, but feelings are mixed in the Senate Republican majority.

Shortly after the conference call ended, Ball’s office sent out another statement blasting Rep. Nan Hayworth, the freshman Mt. Kisco Republican. Ball has taken several shots at Hayworth in recent months, fueling speculation that he may be gearing up for a primary challenge in 2012 (Speculation that, to this point, Ball hasn’t denied).

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Governor Frackinstein

If the state does look to add regulators to watch over the natural gas industry, it won't be part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's initial budget proposal next year, according to the state's environmental agency.

Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said in an email Monday that additional funds for regulating hydraulic fracturing and gas drilling "will not be included in the executive budget," which Cuomo will propose in mid-January.

The DEC is in the middle of soliciting public comment on a series of regulatory proposals that would allow high-volume hydrofracking, a process in which mass amounts of water mixed with sand and chemicals are blasted deep underground to unlock natural gas. High-volume hydrofracking was put on hold by the state in July 2008.

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Marcellus Shale natural gas production is expected to keep rising in 2012, yet landowners may find that signing lease deals isn't as easy as in years past.

Though still in its early stages, industry experts say that the business of Marcellus Shale gas drilling is starting to change, as new forces emerge.

Among them: lawmakers putting regulations in place that will create more drilling opportunities in shale states other than Pennsylvania; Shell's coming decision on where to build a massive processing plant; and the great unknown, the market prices for natural gas.

Drillers have swarmed in recent years to the lucrative Marcellus Shale region primarily beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio. Pennsylvania is the center of activity, with more than 3,000 wells drilled in the past three years and thousands more planned. Critics say a drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could poison water supplies, while the natural-gas industry says it's been used safely for decades.

2012 could lessen the spotlight on Pennsylvania. Other states are moving toward updating laws to regulate drilling, and the industry is starting to explore a new gas resource — the Utica shale, which lies under the Marcellus formation.

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Is 2012 the year for hydrofracking?

For natural gas companies and eager landowners hoping to tap into New York's vast underground reserves, 2008 was looking like "the year."

The same could have been said every year since.

It's been 3 1/2 years since New York began assessing the risks and benefits of using high-volume hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations that lie deep beneath the state's surface.

And while the state has taken clear steps toward allowing the much-debated technique, the highly polarizing decision on whether to give the green light looks like it will drag on well into 2012 -- if not longer.

"It's going to be the year we decide if democracy exists in Albany," Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said about next year. "We have seen a record outpouring of public engagement on this issue, unlike anything I have seen in my 26 years doing this work."

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As many other towns across Livingston County, such as North Dansville, have already done, Springwater Town Council voted last week to draft a moratorium that could put the brakes on permits for hydraulic fracturing in the town.

High volume, horizontal hydrofracking is a process of natural gas extraction that involves drilling multiple wells from a single well site and uses millions of gallons of water laced with thousands of gallons of chemicals. Many citizen action groups, including Frack Free Genesee in Livingston and Ontario counties, oppose allowing the practice in New York.

Springwater Resident Herb Tinney spoke Monday night about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing and criticized the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s ability to oversee the process. He urged the town council to begin the process toward a one-year moratorium.

“The DEC has now publicly states it cannot regulate the hydraulic fracturing process,” Herb Tinney said. “The more information we are getting, the more we are realizing we do not yet have.”

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New York state OKs sale of Ginna plant

The state Public Service Commission gave the go-ahead Thursday to the sale of a controlling interest in three upstate New York nuclear power plants, including the Ginna facility in Wayne County.

Saying the sale would have no significant impact on ratepayers, the commission ended an eight-month review of the purchase by Exelon Corp. of Constellation Energy Group's 50.1 percent interest in the Ginna plant and the Nine Mile Point I and II reactors in Oswego County.

The minority ownership share would continue to be held by Electricite de France, one of the world's largest utilities.

Transfer of Constellation's interest in the three upstate power plants, which can generate about 2,300 megawatts of electricity, is part of a $7.9 billion merger of the Baltimore-based company with Exelon, of Chicago.

The PSC said the combined companies, which will operate under the Exelon name, will have about 5 percent of the electricity generation market in New York state. Exelon will have only a "small" ability to influence the market, the commission concluded.

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Some Steuben County residents had put a lot of hope into hydrofracking making big money for them, and numerous permits have been filed for Marcellus Shale drilling in the Steuben County towns of Lindley and Tuscarora. Permits have also been filed in Bath, Cameron, Jasper and other towns too.

However, according to one top local official, the price of gas is affecting the chances for a lot of hydrofracking in Steuben County. Hornell Industrial Development Agency Director Jim Griffin says he's been told by sources that the price of gas being at $2.00, that's affecting the chances drilling in Steuben County. "It's not economically feasible to drill and recover marcellus shale gas at $2.00," Griffin has been told.

Griffin also informs WLEA/WCKR News that it could be two to 10 years before hydrofracking becomes the money maker many hoped it would be in Steuben County.

A new law for New York authorizes establishment of benefit corporations with a dual focus on social responsibility and profits.

While officers and directors of existing companies are required to pursue profits on behalf of shareholders, sponsors say the new model envisions other fiduciary responsibilities meant to have a positive material impact on society and the environment.

It is meant in part to address concerns among some entrepreneurs who need to raise growth capital but fear losing the social or environmental missions of their business.

The bill will go into effect in 60 days. It unanimously passed the Senate and Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed it.

Supporters say New York is the seventh state to enact the legislation, following Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey, Virginia, Hawaii and California.

Questions are surfacing about the $7.1 million Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems substation now under construction on the residential Fairview Drive in the village of Bath.

A number of residents on Fairview recently attended a village board meeting, to complain about the size of the project, possible noise and lighting.

But many of those issues apparently could have been addressed when the project was first discussed more than four years ago.

According to information received under the Freedom of Information Law, a report by the BEGWS Commission indicated in March 2007 the project would:

•Be located over a primary, principal or sole source aquifer.
•Be near a building, site, or district listed on the state or national registers of historic places.
•Be located in a 100-year flood plain.
•Would produce operating noises exceeding local ambient (normal) noises.
•Would impact aesthetic resources.

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Getting Gas Drilling Right

URBAN WATER SUPPLIES The rules rightly forbid drilling inside the two major unfiltered watersheds serving New York City and Syracuse. But New York City officials warn that hydrofracturing outside the watershed boundaries could set off tiny subsurface shocks, cracking the aging tunnels that bring water to the city and allowing water to leak out of the tunnels and gas to seep in. The proposed rules would limit drilling within 1,000 feet of the tunnels; some experts believe that a setback of several miles will be necessary.

HAZARDOUS WASTEWATER A federal panel found recently that the biggest risks arise from “flowback” — the huge volumes of water laced with naturally occurring toxic pollutants that drilling brings to the surface along with the natural gas. In Western states, these and other wastes are sometimes safely stored underground, but this may not be possible in New York’s geological formations. Sewage treatment plants are not equipped to handle these wastes, open pits are out of the question, and surface storage — even in airtight steel tanks — may be no more than a temporary solution. State officials concede that they don’t have an answer, but until they do, not a single well should be drilled.

OVERSIGHT When fully operational in a decade, the industry could be drilling hundreds of wells a year. Two questions arise, neither addressed in the proposed regulations: First, who’s going to police all this activity? The minerals division of the Department of Environmental Conservation has fewer than 20 employees. Joe Martens, the commissioner, says he wants 140 more, but even that doesn’t sound like enough. Second, who’s going to pay for the regulatory machinery? The obvious answer is the industry, which is growing rapidly and can easily afford permit fees or a volumetric tax on the gas or both. The state needs to ensure an adequate financing stream dedicated to monitoring and enforcement.

There are other issues that need meticulous examination. One is the danger of underground leaks of chemicals or methane gas. The Environmental Protection Agency reported on Thursday that wells in a remote valley in Wyoming may have been contaminated this way. Another issue is above-ground gas leaks that would add to global warming (methane is a potent greenhouse gas). Still another is what industry should be required to do to restore the landscape to its original condition after wells go dry.

There is no reason to hurry the rule-making or the drilling. The only way New York can safely move ahead with hydrofracturing is by designing and executing a tough regulatory program that could also serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

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A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report linking hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to groundwater contamination for the first time puts pressure on the agency to move sooner on efforts to regulate drilling.

The Dec. 8 report that chemicals consistent with those used in drilling were found in groundwater samples in west-central Wyoming may be used by the agency to accelerate action, according to Ken von Schaumburg, a Washington-based attorney and former EPA deputy general counsel. The EPA is weighing three rules on fracturing, or fracking, the first of which is planned for April.

Environmental groups say fracking, in which millions of gallons of chemically treated water are forced underground to shatter rock and let gas flow, is a threat to drinking-water supplies. The EPA’s draft report on groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northeast of Salt Lake City, is the first to blame the drilling technique for spoiling water.

“They’re trying to move the rule-making along,” von Schaumburg, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, said in an interview. “They’re getting a lot of pushback from industry. This may be a tool for EPA to speed up the process.”

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has implicated hydraulic fracturing — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — for causing groundwater pollution.

The EPA’s findings add fuel to a growing movement to protect watersheds and communities statewide.

This past week, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council became one of the latest groups to plead formally for protection from the gas drilling procedure, also called hydrofracking, which involves blasting chemical-laced water into the ground. The council consists of leaders representing the 14 municipalities dependent on Canandaigua Lake for their drinking water.

“Based on the current technology of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and the proposed regulations, we believe that this method of drilling for natural gas poses unacceptable risks to the lifeblood of this region,” the council stated in a detailed letter to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.

Ontario County Watershed Manager Kevin Olvany said the letter signed by the council urges the DEC to look to the EPA’s national comprehensive study on the impact of fracking. The study is due to be completed by the end of 2012.

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Chemung County is joining its counterparts throughout New York in asking the state for help to pay for increased staffing to handle anticipated demand to test drinking water due to gas well development in the Marcellus Shale.

The Chemung County Board of Health this week approved a resolution asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to provide funding to cover completely the cost of additional staffing and resources to investigate complaints about drinking water, should hydraulic fracturing be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Local health departments have been specifically identified in the DEC's revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement as being responsible for responding to all initial complaints about water related to drilling, said Tom Kump, director of environmental health for the Chemung County Health Department.

"That's going to put a huge burden on us, and we're looking at that as an unfunded mandate," Kump said. "We'll do the best we can, but at some point we'll just get saturated where we just can't respond."

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Over 100 people turned out Monday evening for a town hall meeting with Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at the Penn Yan Village Hall.

For about two hours, the lawmakers listened to several comments from people opposed to hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale in the Finger Lakes.

The crowd applauded at various times when people made specific comments such as urging the two lawmakers to support a ban of hydrofracking in the area.

“The gas isn’t going anywhere. We need to be smart and wait for a proven way to take it out. Let’s do it safely and not jump the gun,” said Michelle Morehouse.

O’Mara said he wants to hear from the experts within the Department of Environmental Conservation on whether the practice can be done safely. If he is convinced it can be done safely, he will support the practice. He said he also wants to learn more about a proposed 4,000 ft. set back from a lake.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has implicated fracking — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — for causing groundwater pollution.

The finding could have a chilling effect in states trying to determine how to regulate the controversial process.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas.

The EPA announced today that it found compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.

Health officials advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found hydrocarbons in their wells.

The EPA announcement has major implications for a vast increase in gas drilling in the U.S. in recent years. Fracking has played a large role in opening up many reserves.

The industry has long contended that fracking is safe, but environmentalists and some residents who live near drilling sites say it has poisoned groundwater.

Why RGGI Should Be Repealed in New York:

NY’s Participation in RGGI is Unconstitutional:
 No legislation, participation through Gov. Pataki’s Memorandum of Understanding and Gov. Paterson’s Executive Order
 Taxation without representation
 A lawsuit has been filed in NYS Supreme Court challenging it’s constitutionality

Increases Costs to Energy:
 $900 Million in permits (as of 9/2011) sold as a requirement to energy plants that emit CO2
 Increased cost of production passed on to consumers, considered an ultra vires tax
 Rates for electricity could increase anywhere from 2% to 23% according to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (A.I.M.)
 NYS has the 2nd highest electricity costs according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s 2010 Energy Cost Index (which cited data for 2008 through October from the U.S. Energy Information Administration)
 NYS electricity prices are 58 percent higher than the national average

Lack of Transparency:
 The RGGI program operates in secret with little know about who is trading on this government-created carbon commodities market
 RGGI has refused open records requests claiming they are a non-governmental agency despite having been created by ten state governments
 To date, RGGI has not released information regarding salaries and benefits paid to RGGI bureaucrats
 Companies trading on this carbon commodities market are unknown – only a list of prospective bidders is released
 Prospective bidders are a “who’s who” of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase

RGGI is Ineffective:
 According to RGGI’s own consultants, there will be no drop in CO2 emissions for two decades due to RGGI bureaucrats setting the cap too low
 Gov. Christie said “This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future. The whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It is a failure.”

“RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions,” Christie said. “RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernable or measurable impact upon our environment.”

Adverse Affects on Plants and Communities:
 Making it difficult for energy producing plants to stay in business, threatening closures
 Loss of good paying jobs
 Loss of tax base directly affect the county, towns and school districts
 $326,693,566 taken out of economy in NY due to the required purchase of permits
 $90 Million diverted by Governor Paterson to balance the FY 2010 budget, not to the green initiatives it was intended for
 The costs associated with this regulation contributes to NYS’s 50th rating in Business Climate

Bottom line: RGGI is unconstitutional, ineffective, lacks transparency, drives electricity costs up, and puts jobs and communities in jeopardy.

The Canandaigua Town Board unanimously passed a moratorium on natural gas and petroleum activities — including high volume hydraulic fracturing — Monday night during a public hearing at the Town Hall.

The moratorium would ban hydrofracking — the controversial natural gas drilling method — for 18 months. The moratorium would give the town additional time to update the Town Code to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents, said Kevin Reynolds, the Chairman of the town’s Environmental Conservation Board.

It would also give the board more time to sort through both the pros and cons of the issue.

“There is much (about hydrofracking) that’s unknown — not good or bad, it’s just unknown” said board member Terry Fennelly. “We’re trying to methodically move through this and understand what legal authority we have.”

Fennelly added that to review the facts and to look at both sides of the issues, could take several months.

Most of the residents present at the meeting were anti-fracking and raised concerns about what will happen after the 18-month time period of the moratorium.

“We can issue an extension (to the moratorium),” said Town Supervisor Sam Casella. “That’s why we extended it by more than a year in the first place.”

People from all corners of Ontario descended on Queens Park last week demanding local municipal decision-making power be reinstated with respect to industrial wind turbines. While municipalities and residents have their say on, for example, where a new Tim Hortons or Walmart is located, Mr. McGuinty continues to allow faceless unelected bureaucrats and the companies themselves decide on wind towers.

With no planning directives from council, and no yellow roadside zoning signs, Mr. McGuinty’s Green Energy Act has neutered municipal councilors, taking away their power, and the power of area people, to have their say.

As people rallied outside, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak was inside formally questioning, “’re bringing in the largest industrial wind farm in the entire province in West Niagara and the Glanbrook area…Will you do the right thing and support the bill…and restore local decision-making like the 80 municipalities have called for?”

“The bill” Hudak referred to, the Local Municipality Democracy Act, 201, was introduced by MPP Todd Smith from Prince Edward Hastings. The legislation, proposing to restore municipal planning previously stripped by the Green Energy Act, was debated that afternoon.

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The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency has signed on to help Guilfoyle Ambulance Service move and expand.

Following in the footsteps of the Watertown Local Development Corp., the agency board approved a $252,500 loan for the service at 5 percent interest for 20 years. The service plans to purchase the former Covidien building on Faichney Drive for its new home.

“This is part of the money for renovations and new equipment,” board Treasurer Michelle D. Pfaff said.

The for-profit ambulance service now has 121 employees, but expects to add 74 in the next three years.

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The Canandaigua Town Board will hold a public hearing for a proposed moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 at the Canandaigua Town Hall, 5440 Routes 5 and 20.

The moratorium would ban hydrofracking — the controversial natural gas drilling method — for a certain period of time, thus giving the town more time to research the issue and to possibly change the town’s zoning code.

The town passed a resolution Oct. 24 asking that the legislature of New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, apply the same standards to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed and Finger Lakes Watershed that has been issued in New York City and Syracuse.

A recently released study on natural gas drilling and contamination of water wells, contentious issues as drillers swarm to a lucrative shale formation beneath Pennsylvania, had an error, according to researchers from Penn State University.

The researchers reported that there is far less evidence of well contamination by bromides, salty mineral compounds that can combine with other elements to cause health problems, than first suggested. The researchers are reviewing the entire study, released in October, after discovering that results from an independent water testing lab contained the error.

One water well, not seven, showed increased bromide levels after drilling, the researchers said in a statement issued last week by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a state-funded agency that first released the study.

One of the Penn State University researchers, Bryan Swistock, said in an email that the study didn’t go through an independent scientific peer review process because of a Center for Rural Pennsylvania policy that reports must first go to the General Assembly before outside publication.

(Click to read the entire article)

We, the undersigned, strongly support safeguarding the environment, public health, natural resources and scenic splendor of New York’s Catskills, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. With that goal in mind, we request that you immediately withdraw the Marcellus Shale revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (RD SGEIS) in order to resolve the fundamental shortcomings documented herein.

There is a de facto moratorium on horizontal hydrofracturing in New York’s Marcellus Shale pending adoption of a Final SGEIS. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) 2009 Draft SGEIS received such withering criticism that Governor Paterson signed Executive Order No. 41 requiring DEC to: “make such revisions to the Draft SGEIS that are necessary to analyze comprehensively the environmental impacts associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling, ensure that such impacts are appropriately avoided or mitigated …” On 1/1/11, you signed a “continuation” of that Order.

The RD SGEIS Must Be Withdrawn Due to DEC’s Failure to Fulfill Executive Order No. 41

(Click to sign)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will let the public comment on its proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing for an additional month, the agency announced Wednesday.

The public comment period on the DEC's 1,500-page environmental review and proposed regulations will now close Jan. 11. It had been slated to end Dec. 12.

In September, the DEC released its draft rules for comment, after an incomplete draft was released in July. But an agency spokeswoman said many people had asked for more time to comment, and the DEC would grant the request.

"Many individuals and organizations requested additional time to prepare comments," spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said in a statement. "We have decided to extend the comment period by 30 days to Jan. 11."

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