Amid reports that a decision on fracking in New York is imminent, national environmental organizations – collectively representing millions of members across the country – sent a letter to Governor Cuomo today urging him to heed concerns raised by scores of local and statewide groups over dirty drilling. Those state groups in June called Governor Cuomo’s plan to allow fracking in five upstate counties inconsistent with his pledge to protect public health and the environment.
“Across the nation, every place they frack we see water contamination, air pollution, terrible health implications, and great costs to local communities” said Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America and one of the signers of the letter to Governor Cuomo. “We hope Governor Cuomo realizes the eyes of the nation are upon him – he can lead NY toward clean energy and a healthy environment or he can continue to push for dangerous drilling.”
As Governor Cuomo mulls a decision on whether to allow fracking in New York, the dirty drilling process is exacting a grave toll next door in Pennsylvania – including drinking water contamination, wellhead explosions, and nearby families getting sick from pollution. Fracking and its waste have been linked to these and other problems elsewhere – from earthquakes in Ohio and Arkansas to groundwater contamination in New Mexico.
”In this haste to drill, I and other hunters and anglers fear that many of the environmental impacts of fracking, like air and water pollution, are being ignored,” said Larry Schweiger, President of the National Wildlife Federation.
With evidence on fracking damage mounting, other states are now moving to stop it. In the past few months, the New Jersey legislature voted overwhelmingly to ban fracking waste and Vermont outlawed the dirty drilling practice entirely. Similar proposals are gaining ground in other states as well, including moratorium bills introduced in Illinois and California.
"People around the country are standing up to the oil and gas companies and organizing to defend their communities from fracking and the air and water pollution it brings. Governor Cuomo should stand with those communities, not with an industry that puts secret chemicals and profits above everything else," said Phil Radford, Greenpeace Executive Director.
Reports this summer indicate that the Governor’s latest plan is to pilot fracking with 50 wells in five counties, with the number of permitted wells growing in future years. But once the door is opened, no one doubts that the oil and gas industry will move aggressively to expand fracking across New York.
“With four years of permit violations and disasters in Pennsylvania, there’s nothing new for the Governor to learn from a pilot project in New York,” said David VanLuven, Director of Environment New York. “With the eyes of the nation on him, we need Governor Cuomo to stand tall against dirty drilling.”
The national organizations sending the letter were:
Clean Water Action
National Wildlife Federation
National Parks Conservation Association
Physicians for Social Responsibility
The Wilderness Society