We’ve already seen the anti-hydrofracking activists join forces to form one coalition against the gas extraction process. Now, a group of municipal officials have done the same.
A letter signed by (at this moment) 283 elected officials from 34 New York counties was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office today, according to the new coalition — Elected Officials to Protect New York.
The list of officials — ranging from town board members to supervisors to all sorts of other office holders — can be found on the group’s flashy new website.
In the letter, the officials call on New York to continue its defacto moratorium and launch three studies — one on the public health impacts, one on the cumulative impacts of hydrofracking, and one on the socioeconomic impacts.
“To earn our and the public’s confidence in the adequacy of the assessments we are seeking, all these studies must be made available for public review and comment before regulations are finalized or the moratorium is lifted,” the letter reads.
Standard background information — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is in the midst of a regulatory and environmental review of high-volume hydrofracking. It was launched in July 2008, and the technique is on hold in New York until it’s completed. (Howard Glaser, Cuomo’s director of state operations, said on a radio appearance this morning that the report is still “a couple months away” from being finalized, but declined to set a specific timeline.)
Independent Oil & Gas Association executive director Brad Gill fired back with a statement of his own this afternoon. He said, in part:
“Municipal leaders who wish to further stall the expansion of natural gas development in the Southern Tier are acting without the full understanding of the significant environmental protections that are in place, and without the benefit of years of environmental review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. New York is already under a four-year moratorium. It’s disingenuous to ask for that to be extended without knowing the DEC’s conclusions and its scientific rationale.”
Here’s video of Carl Chipman — supervisor of the town of Rochester in Ulster County — discussing his concerns about hydrofracking: