Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Fracking Rules Fall Short of Protecting New Yorkers

Energy

Riverkeeper

Based on an extensive, expert-supported evaluation, a coalition of environmental groups announced today that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) proposed fracking rules fall short of protecting New York residents and should not be finalized before the environmental and public health reviews are complete.

In nearly 200 pages of formal joint comments submitted to the state, the coalition highlighted a number of shortcomings in the draft rules released by the state last month. In addition, the DEC released its revised regulations before completing its analysis of health, economic and social impacts, calling into question whether there is a valid scientific basis for the changes it made or the many public recommendations it rejected. The coalition concluded that no decision on fracking should be made before environmental and health impacts are fully evaluated and the public’s concerns are adequately addressed.

Some of the most significant deficiencies that still remain in the state’s proposed regulations include:

  • Proposed Setbacks from Drinking Water Supplies and Buildings Remain Inadequate. DEC has provided no scientific or technical basis for its arbitrary, insufficient setbacks from, and under, homes, schools and water supplies, which fail to provide sufficient buffers to protect communities and their drinking water sources.
  • There Is Still No Plan for Wastewater Disposal. New York does not have a plan to deal with billions of gallons of wastewater and avoids dealing with that problem by allowing drillers to figure out their disposal methods in the future. The proposed regulations require a well operator to have an approvable fluid disposal plan but provide no criteria or standards that would govern such a plan. In addition, the DEC has added a new section to its proposed regulations that provides for permitting of deep well injection in New York for the disposal of fracking wastewater, which if allowed would pose new threats of groundwater contamination and earthquakes—threats that have not been analyzed to date.
  • Proposed Regulations Still Fail to Require Full Disclosure of All Fracking Chemicals, Leaving First Responders at Risk and Doctors Uninformed. DEC’s regulations continue to allow well operators to withhold information regarding the fracking chemicals they use if they assert a trade secret exemption. In addition, the regulations do not provide a means for the public to timely challenge that assertion, nor do they require that information to be made immediately available to first responders and doctors, putting our communities’ first responders at risk and tying the hands of doctors trying to treat patients sickened after fracking has come to their neighborhood.

These comments follow more than 600 pages of joint comments submitted in January 2012 on the draft environmental review (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement). Many of the issues the groups identified in their 2012 comments remained unaddressed. When a response was provided, in most instances, the DEC summarily rejected the recommendations without providing a technical or scientific analysis or a justification for its decision.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less