Health Expert’s Employer Will Get $480/hour for Hydrofracking Review


The Department of Health will pay $480 an hour for a Colorado School of Public Health expert to assess the state’s hydrofracking review.

The payment to the school will be capped at $12,000, according to a copy of the contract obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.

John Adgate, chair of the Colorado school’s Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, was selected earlier this month to assist with the state’s ongoing review of hydrofracking. Specifically, Adgate has been asked to review documents provided to him by the state Health Department and “provide advice and recommendations related to potential public health impacts and mitigations, if necessary, of high-volume hydraulic fracturing.”

Adgate was one of three academic professionals asked to assist in the review, with the others hailing from George Washington University and the University of California, Los Angeles. Lynn Goldman, the dean of George Washington University’s public health school, confirmed last week that her employer was also being reimbursed an hourly rate for her work, but that rate hasn’t been made clear.

The contract — which was provided by the Colorado school — runs through Feb. 13, but contains a clause that allows the Health Department to set a timeframe for the work to be completed by. Prior to Thanksgiving, Goldman said she had been asked to finish by Dec. 3.

Final Scan of Signed Contract NY


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  1. [The Department of Health will pay $480 an hour for a Colorado School of Public Health expert to assess the state’s hydrofracking review.]

    So what? How much does Tom West charge an hour to destroy NYS? How much do the lawyers at the white shoe law firms in NYC bill an hour. What do we think the fee for a good lobbyist works out to on an hourly basis? Heck, how much money does Cuomo waste every time he uses the state plane or helicopter (which ALWAYS returns to Albany overnight even though it makes no sense logistically)?

    You normally do an excellent reporting on fracking, Jon. But why in the world are you implying that the state should be cheap and hire some mediocre consultant (like the one that did the economic assessment in the SGEIS…twice) to protect the health of 20 million New Yorkers? Aren’t we worth $12,000 at the max? Let’s review the math. That works out to a tiny FRACTION of a PENNY per New Yorker!

    The Colorado School of Public Health is worth every nickel, IMHO. $12,00 is bargain! Be glad that the state choose somebody respectable to do the job.

  2. What’s bothering me is that New York State is only paying for 25 hours of work by these experts. It does not bode well for the depth or comprehensiveness of the documents if the DEC and DOH think it will take so little time to review and respond to them.

  3. This is a mandate on what the state thinks of the “review ” of the public’s health impact from HVHF- What did we vote for? Politicians who don’t care about the public safety and health. Didn’t Sandy teach you anything Governor of the cost of disasters? That’s what will come from the EXTRACTION of HVHF. So NY health impact review is only worth 25 hours. When you guys in Albany take months to even come up with a bill to go on the chamber floor. This is disgusting.

  4. Michael Dineen, Ovid, NY on

    This makes no sense at all. Why would the DEC offer $480/hr then set a ceiling of $12K, knowing full well that this limits the number of hours to 25? They must know that there’s no way this review could be done in that amount of time. And why do they make the ending date of the contract period as Feb 13, then turn around and tell the consultant to finish by Dec 3? We know the DEC is a schizophrenic organization, being responsible for both the protection and destruction of our environment. This contract is symptomatic of that pathology.

  5. Is this what Governor Cuomo thinks fighting climate change and impending further disasters is worth? A few weeks and $12,500? To stave off possible billions of dollars of future damage? And where are the strong and binding regulations to hold the gas companies accountable for damages and problems?

    It is obvious that the industry is looking over shoulders to get what they want. Why are the people of New York State not considered an important part of this process? Fracking contaminates ground water, uses excessive precious fresh water, poisons the air with methane and radon and destroys the landscape. Pay attention.

  6. It is not so much the pay rate that bothers me, but that the number of hours allotted could mean that DEC has done a slap dash job of cobbling together a section on health impacts. Of course, we have no idea what DEC has done or even who did it, since what the three experts will see will not be released to the public until after their review. In the meantime, DEC and Cuomo move ahead toward releasing the regulations before the SGEIS in its present form can be seen. The combination of these two elements has removed transparency from the process and seems to indicate sudden ill-advised haste after a slow process.

    Public comments sent on the Scope, on the First Draft, and on the present draft of the SGEIS a year ago all made clear the need of a Health Risk Assessment. Now DEC has apparently done something less than a full HRA and hopes that the Health Department and these three experts will bless it. Why did DEC not get the Health Department to assist in a full HRA a couple of years ago?

  7. I live in the southern tier and do not wish to see fracking greenlighted with a minimal health impact study. This does not reflect the promise the Governor made to New Yorkers that any decision on fracking would be based on science. Shame on you. If you want to go ahead with fracking and be the friend to the oil and gas industry, why don’t you just say so? Risk your political career and be honest instead of just continuing to try and play both sides. We need transparency and honesty from our government, and we deserve it.