Hydrofracking Updates

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has completed all the review steps, and high-volume hydraulic fracturing is now banned in New York State. The ban was made official with the June 29th release of the state’s Final Findings Statement.

fracking ban official

A smart ban on fracking by Times Union Editorial Board

It’s official: New York bans fracking RT News


Thursday, June 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the EPA released a study that confirms that fracking poses a risk to drinking water sources. Fracking is inherently dirty and dangerous. In a review of its records, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found that 234 private drinking water wells had been contaminated by drilling and fracking. In Colorado, more than 340 leaks or spills that contaminated groundwater have been reported. In New Mexico, state records document 743 such instances. These examples offer just a glimpse of the dangers posed by dirty fracking.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“The EPA’s water quality study confirms what millions of Americans already know – that dirty oil and gas fracking contaminates drinking water.

Unfortunately, the EPA chose to leave many critical questions unanswered. For example, the study did not look at this issue under the lens of public health and ignored numerous threats that fracking poses to drinking water. The EPA must conduct a comprehensive study that results in action to protect public health.

“Instead of blindly allowing destructive fracking to continue in our communities, we should extend statewide fracking bans, like the one in New York, and moratoriums, like the one in Maryland, that will keep dirty, climate-polluting fossil fuels like fracked gas in the ground and invest in truly clean, renewable sources of energy that don’t come with the threat of poisoned drinking water and climate disaster.”

Find letter from Emily Wurth, Director of Food and Water Watch here: Emily W

 It’s also important to see DEC’s response where Martens says unequivocally that the NY study is more comprehensive and that NY will be moving forward with the ban:

Fracking Victory

Letter from Sierra Club Niagara Group Executive Committee Chair acknowledging all those who worked to achieve the high volume hydraulic fracturing BAN:

Dear Friends,

Today the State of New York received a holiday gift!  Governor Cuomo announced that fracking will not be done in the State of New York assuring the citizens of New York that our health will not be compromised by this dirty industrial process.  As Bob Ciesielski, Energy Chair of the Atlantic Chapter and on the ExCom of the Niagara Group said, “Oh blessed day!”

Thanks to all the people who have worked so hard to bring pressure on the Governor and to keep his office informed of the studies that pointed to the negative health consequences of this process.  That includes many members of the Sierra Club statewide and in the Niagara Group.  It includes a very special thank you to Rita Yelda of Food and Water Watch and Western New York Drilling Defense, who has led the campaign in Western New York.  Thank you Rita.  And thanks to the Western New York Environmental Alliance that has carried a ban on fracking as one of their platform issues for two years, and to Push Buffalo and to so many groups and organizations.  This is our day.  Every now and then, it is good to remember that “The People are Too Big to Fail.”

 So the Governor asks, how do we create jobs without fracking?  We have the answer – MOVE TO RENEWABLES NOW – solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro!  More to come on the Renewable Campaign.

 Lynda Schneekloth, Chair, Sierra Club Niagara Group

Buffalo News article: State bans fracking, citing health and environmental concerns

Capital: Cuomo concludes fracking is too risky

New York Times: Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks

NYS Department of Health Fracking Study

For information from the Atlantic Chapter Sierra Club Gas Task Force, including a position statement on this issue, go here

To: David Denk


Regional Permit Administrator
NYSDEC, Region 9
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14203

January 12, 2015

Sierra Club Niagara Group comments on :

Hyland Facility Associates’ Landfill (Hyland)

Permit Modification – Hyland has requested a permit modification to increase the tonnage of accepted waste. The current approved design capacity is proposed to change from 1,200 tons per day to 1,790 tons per day. The maximum waste receipts at the landfill during any quarter will not exceed 139,500 tons and annual waste receipts at the landfill will not exceed 465,000 tons.

Sierra Club Niagara Group has learned that much of this increased capacity at the Hyland landfill will accommodate hydrofracking waste imported from Pennsylvania. It is well known that such waste contains a wide variety of toxic chemicals as well as radioactive contaminants from the Marcellus shale. Indeed when Governor Cuomo and Health Commissioner Zucker announced NY State’s ban on hydrofracking they gave the detrimental health effects of these poisons as the primary reason for the ban.

The storage of these imported toxic by-products of hydrofracking into NY state and specifically to the Hyland Landfill clearly violates the principal promulgated by New York’s hydrofracking ban e.g. that the citizens of  NY State must be protected from the detrimental effects on health that result from exposure to these toxins. The inequity of this proposed importing of toxic waste to our state is magnified by the social injustice of depositing them in an impoverished rural community with a minimum  capacity to mount a legal defense.

You must deny this permit.

Laurence T. Beahan MD

Habitat Chair Niagara Group Sierra Club

Buffalo News Another Voice: Governor deserves thanks for his ban on fracking by Rita Yelda

On Dec. 17, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made history when he listened to the science and banned hydrofracking in New York, protecting the health and safety of residents over the profits of the oil and gas industry. The governor found the environmental and health risks of fracking to be too great. The administration’s decision to ban fracking protects public health, our water, our air, our farms and agriculture products, our tourism and so much more from being negatively impacted by a toxic drilling industry.

This ban on fracking in New York is the story of tens of thousands of activists who tirelessly fought over many years through demonstrations, local fracking bans, petitioning, calling and following the governor himself. New York’s anti-fracking movement is comprised of everyday individuals across the state. This grass-roots movement can find its roots in Buffalo, the first municipality in the state to ban fracking and fracking waste. This statewide movement grew in part thanks to the growing body of science showing that fracking poses significant health and environmental risks.

In the 184-page report that led to New York’s ban, the New York State Department of Health examined findings from multiple studies conducted across the country. Major concerns they identified included respiratory health issues such as asthma and breathing issues, drinking water contamination, earthquakes, methane leakage, soil contamination and increased heavy truck traffic and car accidents. Their findings also included health effects on residents near active fracking sites, such as nausea, abdominal pain, nosebleeds and headaches.

One study examined from Colorado found that those who lived closest to natural gas development sites had a 30 percent increase in congenital heart conditions and a 100 percent increase of developing neural tube defects in babies.

The gas industry creates a false dichotomy that ties fracking and job creation together, but there are always other ways to create jobs. Our health, on the other hand, is not replaceable.

This year at Cuomo’s State of the State address in Albany Jan. 7, we will be thanking the governor and also encouraging renewable energy expansion in New York, so that future energy needs will never give the toxic fossil fuel industry a foot in our door.

Cuomo exercised the precautionary principle by banning fracking in New York, impacting generations to come. We’re going to Albany to thank him, and we also look forward to making New York the renewable energy capital of the United States, leading the nation to a healthier future.

Rita Yelda, of Buffalo, is the Western New York organizer for Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food.

Link to Rita’s letter in BN

Dr. Jannette M. Barth prepared an excellent letter (link included below) to Governor Cuomo giving her assessment of the potential economic impacts of shale gas development in New York State. The letter includes a link to a video from “Capital Pressroom” in which Susan Arbetter gives her an opportunity to elaborate. Barth is former Chief Economist of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and current principal of a research and consulting firm; she has conducted economic analyses and developed economic models for 35 years.  The past four years she has studied the economic impact of shale gas development and has written many papers and given many presentations on the subject.

Podcast of Dr. Barth with Susan Arbetter on “Capital Pressroom”

Dr. Barth’s letter to Gov. Cuomo