Published: January 11, 2013
From the comments:
Dear Commissioner Martens and DEC staff:
Thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments on the Revised Draft Regulations on High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing.
Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of irresponsible mineral and energy development while seeking sustainable solutions. For over two decades, we have worked nationwide to advance policy reforms, improve corporate practices, and safeguard land and public health. The Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) of Earthworks works with local communities, landowners, organizations, agencies, and elected officials to advance these goals.
We recognize the time that the Department of Environmental Conservation has invested in determining whether and how New York State should move forward with highGvolume hydraulic fracturing using horizontal drilling (HVHF). As the DEC has frequently acknowledged, the proposed actions require much higher volumes of water, toxic chemicals, industrial equipment, and land than current oil and gas development in New York; consequently, the far greater environmental and social impacts that will result can only be mitigated (if not prevented) by the strongest regulatory oversight possible.
With this in mind, the current regulations reflect significant progress over the previous draft issued in 2011. However, flaws in the proposed regulations remain that reflect a lack of consideration of both established and emerging evidence of the negative impacts of gas development in the Marcellus and other deep shale regions. As a result, the draft regulations, as proposed, are not sufficient to protect health, communities, and air and water resources across New York State. Below we detail several subject areas in which revisions to the proposed regulations are necessary.