Fracking roundup: Anti-frackers push Martens on health review; Pro-frackers tout Ed Rendell’s op-ed (UPDATED)

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New York’s ongoing debate over hydraulic fracturing has hit something of a standstill in recent weeks. But with the budget season winding down, the fracking discussion will likely be heating up.

Here’s a look at some of today’s developments:

– Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell — a prominent Democrat who was at the helm when the state began permitting high-volume fracking in 2007 and 2008 — penned an op-ed that reads like something of an open letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo without directly mentioning his name.

In the Daily News, Rendell makes a case for allowing large-scale fracking in New York.

“That’s why New York’s consideration of hydraulic fracturing is so essential. We’re at an energy crossroads as a nation,” Rendell wrote. “If we choose to embrace natural gas, it will help us get past a number of significant economic and environmental challenges. On the other hand, if we let fear carry the day, we will squander another key moment to move forward together.”

(UPDATED: The Daily News added a disclaimer making clear that Rendell is paid a consulting fee by a company with stakes in gas companies.)

In an appearance on “The Capitol Pressroom,” a public radio program, Cuomo said New York has to make its own decisions.

“I would say, Ed, that was a well-written piece and I understand and appreciate your justification for what you did in the state of Pennsylvania,” Cuomo said. “That is what he did and he was explaining why he did what he did. Different communities, different states have to make their own determination.”

The New York State Petroleum Council touted Rendell’s op-ed, as well as a radio appearance by a Towanda, Pa., hospital administrator. New Yorkers Against Fracking knocked the piece, as well as Rendell’s ties to the gas industry.

(AP file photo)

– A group of fracking critics in the Southern Tier are trying to make sure Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens is living up to his promises when it comes to an ongoing health review of fracking.

In a letter sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the activists — led by outspoken Ithaca database specialist Walter Hang — highlighted key phrases from Martens’ 2012 announcement of the health review. In his September statement, Martens said Health Commissioner Nirav Shah had agreed to assess the DEC’s analysis of fracking and ensure it would be adequate to protect public health.

Specifically, they point to Martens saying he wants to make sure the state’s fracking review is the “most thorough review possible, especially when it comes to public health concerns.”

“In reality, the DOH Review has not achieved its goals and is an exercise in futility,” the letter reads. “Commissioner Shah recently testified for the first time that he and three outside experts who were contracted for 25 hours of work merely reviewed the existing Draft SGEIS. That effort is pointless.”

The activists — which includes Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, a fracking critic — called on the state to undergo a comprehensive health impact analysis, a lengthy study the likes of which Martens had previously rejected. They want a public-comment period and a public scoping document — neither of which have been included as part of Shah’s review — and a fracking decision put on hold until the study is completed.

Here’s the full letter:

March 26

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11 Comments

  1. Hugh Kimball on

    Yes, Ed Rendell rightly takes credit for the pollution of the state he formerly governed, and for the fragmented forests, the illnesses and other adverse impacts we can see when we look at the List of the Harmed, and for the dead and stillborn domestic animals. I am sure that he either does not know or does not care that radon accompanies natural gas harvested from shale. It is obvious he is unaware that an estimated 9% of the methane released by fracking goes into the atmosphere and is a potent greenhouse gas. Rendell is clearly connected to the gas industry and should be disregarded along with all the other compensated shills.

    His successor as governor has continued to ignore the realities of shale gas drilling which include pollution of air, ground, and water and the trasmission of radon along with the gas. Instead of being in a rush to get all the shale gas as quickly as possible, this country should be transitioning away from fossil fuels and, at the same time, finding ways to harvest this gas without creating problems that will be with us for decades.

  2. North of the Hutch on

    List of the Harmed? Hugh you need to get a life & let the fracking begin. You continue to ignore the obvious fact that we need lots of clean burning natural gas to heat our homes and power our factories. What’s your plan? Import more from the Arabs? We’re not shifting away from fossil fuels anytime soon so embrace & let’s do it right. Your scare tactics are getting old & redundant.

  3. There seems to be a glut of natural gas on the market right now, driving down the price, which makes it an attractive fuel to convert to for many industries in this country. But the drilling companies are losing their shirts, and being bought out by bigger companies both domestic and foriegn, who are global players. In order to make drilling pay, much of the NG will be sold overseas…as much as 60% of domestic production. The Feds plan to begin permitting for liquifying and shipping in 2014. Note the pipelines (Millenium, Tennesee, etc.) that are being built to shunt natural gas to the coast. Kiss our economical transitional fuel goodbye. This horizontally drilled high volumn hydrofracked natural gas is not the homeland security and independance from foriegn oil that the mouthpieces of the oil and gas industry are touting. Additionally, the initial volumn projected by the oil and gas industry hasn’t proven out. Wells are being shut down after a few years instead of the 20 plus years we are being sold. Production drops dramatically after the first year, and declines quickly to the point that it’s not economically feasible to keep the well in production. Hence the need to keep drilling. Hence the big hurry to find more land (NYS) to drill before they hit the wall. It is a given that fossil fuels are finite. Extracting them becomes an ever more labor intensive and environmentally damaging process. Why not invest our time and money fine tuning sustainable solutions instead of trying to keep this festering NG bandaid in place until gangreen sets in?

  4. Too bad the anti-frackers have not a scientific leg to stand on. No health effects in PA and the landowners are about to file a taking claim under the 5th and 14th amendment to the US constitution and NY State constitution. Fracking is being performed in 32 states right now with oil and gas resources with no effects. How about the improved health of New Yorkers who will now have jobs to pay for food, transportation, housing, utilities.

    These fear mongers are nothing but hypocrites that use gas to heat their own homes and businesses. They light of day will expose the frauds they are.

  5. Hugh Kimball on

    Ed, why don’t you try responding with facts rather than denying them? And, by the way, the taking argument is going nowhere as the land can still be used as it has in he past and the gas is still there.

  6. Look into the truth, and not your biased anti-fracking link, here from another information source:

    “The state regulator found high concentrations of some compounds, including manganese, in the landowners’ water but could not say Range or the other companies were responsible, according to the court record”

    Manganese is a naturally occuring mineral with no health effect if in water. The article goes on to state:

    “The settlement says the children’s “alleged claims involve nuisance and personal injury. There is presently no medical evidence that support that these claims are related to any exposure to the activities of defendants as set forth in plaintiff’s complaint.”

    It is the lies and miss-information by the anti’s that weaken the US and take property rights away from others. I am calling you out, and you can’t handle it.

  7. Great logic. So because one state regulator claims there is no evidence to support a claim in one case, therefore all fracking everywhere is perfectly safe. Brillliant reasoning.

  8. Paul Felix Schott on

    Should not the title of this be Ed Rendell Backs His Own Pocket Book.

    WE THE PEOPLE need to send Ed and all local officials that have anything to do with Poisoning are ground and water a message stop worrying get to love Jail.

    SAFE DRINKING WATER RUNNING OUT FASTER THEN YOU THINK WORLD WIDE.

    Hydraulic Fracturing a Danger to us All.

    Why would anyone think we have water to waste.

    Some one forgot to tell all about all the poison chemicals that this ungodly Lisa Jackson gave a green light to put in are ground and water.
    And help the Industry, so to they will never have to disclose all the poison chemicals they have used.

    Only the wicked in mind Leaders in this Nation and around the world would let anyone Pipe Pollution into the ground to get gas in return from the Ground. Most all scientist have know this for many years that this will end safe drinking water for all that are in the area of where they are fracturing, in which Millions of Gallons of Dangerous Poison Chemically Treated Water are forced underground to break up rock and free gas. We need regulations from GODLY People that will stop 10,000+ wells a year drilled using hydraulic fracturing to free and make the Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground into gas. The primarily affect will be unsafe drinking water and many will become sick. THE HEALTH OF MANY WILL DETERIORATE because of A Few Wicked Greedy Leaders. Those who have made these decisions do not know Jesus Christ. Soon He will say i know you not. They belong in jail soon it will be hell for them. What sick in mind would let or want anyone to put Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground or into the ground anywhere.

    The wicked are trying to sell and tell all if it is not near your home or land it is safe. This is the biggest ling of horse manure. Do they think most of We The People are that dumb or that most Americans lack any intelligence at all. What ever is put on or in the ground makes it way to our underground Aquifers, Rivers, Lakes and the Oceans. Every Scientist on Earth knows this and most all that have made it to eighth grade in school.

    So why would any Leader with a good healthy mind ever say or want this?

    Vote any wicked that has anything to do with this out of office they work for WE THE PEOPLE. Then need to go to jail. Soon it will be not jail but Hell. Revelation 11:18

    United We Stand In GOD We Trust

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    P.S.
    Wicked Leaders telling their friends as long as you can cover it up and it will not get back to me it is ok with me. Are you sure we will not go to jail for making money by Polluting the ground and water. Of course not we make the laws to fit our needs not the health and welfare of others or as they used to say We The People. Its now the Wicked Leaders and rich Rule. Till our Lord GOD comes!

    Solar Energy the way to go.
    Many States Are and are Banning Fracking.

    Archimedes and Albert Einstein
    These two are at the top of the list of the World’s Greatest Scientists,
    Viewed by Scientist around the World.

    Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what
    Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90%
    of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever
    live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for.

    It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
    Free Energy, Electric from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).
    There is enough Energy from our SUN to power all are needs and more.

  9. Those of you who are still pro-fracking, LEARN TO READ!!! There are numerous new articles literally on a daily basis that describe yet more contamination, more sickness, moe dead animals, more sick people, more radiation, poisonous chemicals, spills, leaks, methane release (much more potent a geeenhouse gas than CO2), all over the country. And look at what Pennsylvania is going through; documented worst water contamination issues than pretty much anywhere else, absolutely linked to hydrofracking. What these pro-frackers also still don’t seem to realize (because they believe the lily white gas industry’s tv commercials, apparently- they would NEVER lie on tv, right!?) is that the fracking that has been going on for the past 30 years is VERTICAL fracking- totally different process!! Again, folks, learn to read!!!!!