January 15, 2013

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Environmental coalition claims fracking rules leave New Yorkers ‘unprotected’

NEW YORK – A group of environmental organizations on Monday charged the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed fracking rules fall short of protecting New York residents and said they should not be finalized before the environmental and public health reviews are complete.

The groups – Riverkeeper, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Earthjustice, and Natural Resources Defense Council – submitted some 200 pages of formal joint comments highlighting what they said were shortcomings in the draft rules released by the state last month.

Wes Gillingham, program director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, said the group feels no decision should be made about fracking before environmental and health impacts are fully evaluated and the public’s concerns are adequately addressed.

“The way they put the regulations out before the health impact was done, before the SGEIS was completed, was really convoluted, and the way they responded to the comments to the last round on the regs gives me the impression that they have already made a decision and they are going through the motions. That’s really unacceptable,” Gillingham said.

The environmental groups said the “most significant deficiencies” include proposed setbacks from drinking water supplies and buildings remain inadequate; there is no plan for wastewater disposal; and that proposed regulations fall to require full disclosure of all fracking chemicals, leaving first responders at risk and doctors uniformed.

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