440+ Elected Officials to Gov. Cuomo: Fracking Review Still Inadequate by ecowatch, October 2, 2012
Today, Elected Officials to Protect New York—representing more than 440 local elected officials from 52 counties across New York State—released a letter spearheaded by Southern Tier elected officials detailing serious concerns they have about fracking. They noted the review of frackingis still missing not only a comprehensive health impact assessment but also thorough socioeconomic impact and cumulative environmental impact assessments, and they reiterated that a decision must not be made about fracking until such studies are complete. Additionally, they requested a meeting with Governor Cuomo, noting that the governor has met with Brad Gill—executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of NY—and other representatives of the gas industry on May 9 yet the governor has not responded to the concerns raised by hundreds of elected officials.
Elected Officials to Protect New York initially raised these concerns and called for additional studies in June. Since June, Elected Officials to Protect New York has quickly grown from 280 elected officials from 34 counties to more than 440 elected officials from 52 counties, growth that is indicative of the significant concerns among local elected officials and their constituents across the state. Their letter states that, “We represent the growing majority of elected officials from all political parties, from cities, towns, villages, and county governments, who have reviewed the science and facts on fracking. As local officials, we are the closest to the people and we’ve heard deep concerns from an unprecedented number of our constituents. Not only have we spent countless hours listening to public comments at hearings and public meetings, we hear from our neighbors at post offices, in grocery stores and in our personal email inboxes. We have the ear to the ground on how our constituents view this industry. The sum total of what we have learned is deeply troubling.” Regarding the recent news that the state will study the health impacts of fracking, Elected Officials to Protect New York is concerned about the scope of the study and the process. They reiterated their June request for, “A comprehensive health impact assessment of the entire shale gas extraction process, including but not limited to direct and indirect health effects and cumulative health impacts.” Meanwhile Elected Officials to Protect New York wants to make certain that recent focus on the health study does not eclipse the fact that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has still not studied the negative socioeconomic impacts of fracking and the cumulative environmental impacts, issues which are of great concern to residents across the state. The letter released today states that, “We are the boots on the ground where the impacts and ramifications would be greatest. We do not believe that the facts and science are complete yet, so it doesn’t matter whether 50 to 100 wells are permitted or 5,000 to 10,000. We do not have the knowledge that fracking is “safe” so we oppose subjecting any of our communities to this industry until all of our concerns have been thoroughly addressed.” [Emphasis added]