Letter from Toxics Targeting and Aligned Groups to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Asking for New Health Study


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A letter sent from the director of Toxics Targeting, an extreme anti-drilling group in New York State, to Gov. Andrew Cuomo "requesting" that he end the current health impact review being performed by State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah and instead initiate a years-long health impact study. The aim to simply to prevent fracking from ever starting.

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Letter from Toxics Targeting and Aligned Groups to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Asking for New Health Study

  1. 1. March 26, 2013Honorable Andrew M. CuomoGovernor of New YorkThe State CapitolAlbany, NY 12224Dear Governor Cuomo:We, the undersigned, write to request that you put on-hold completion of yourDepartment of Health’s (DOH) fatally flawed Review of High-Volume HydraulicFracturing (HVHF) until it fulfills the goals stated by Environmental ConservationCommissioner Martens on 9/20/12.At that time, he announced: “I have recently met with several of the groups whohave raised public health concerns and it is clear they are not satisfied with theDepartments effort to address potential public health impacts (emphasis added).” Inorder to resolve those concerns, Commissioner Martens declared that a DOH Reviewwould be undertaken to:a) address “any legitimate request for additional due diligence and study…(emphasis added);”b) ensure that “DECs ultimate decision on hydraulic fracturing is beyondreproach either as a matter of law or as policy (emphasis added);”c) allow DEC to avail “ourselves of the best possible advice from the private andacademic sectors (emphasis added);” andd) “… result in the most thorough review of high-volume hydraulic fracturingin the nation…(emphasis added).”See: http://toxicstargeting.com/sites/default/files/martens_rej_id_study.pdfCommissioner Martens added: “Fundamentally, I want to make sure that wehave done the most thorough review possible, especially when it comes topublic health concerns (emphasis added).”In short, your administration is requiring the Public Health Impact Review to fulfillextremely exigent mandates and to be comprehensive in scope. Until that is
  2. 2. accomplished, your administration has declared that no Final Supplemental GenericEnvironmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) will be adopted.DOH Review is an Exercise in Futility That Cannot Meet itsMandated GoalsIn reality, the DOH Review has not achieved its goals and is an exercise in futility.Commissioner Shah recently testified for the first time that he and three outsideexperts who were contracted for 25 hours of work merely reviewed the existingDraft SGEIS. That effort is pointless.Scientists, physicians, elected officials and concerned citizens specifically requestedthat a new comprehensive Health Impact Study be undertaken because theRevised Draft SGEIS was deemed totally inadequate to safeguard public health.A coalition letter with more than 22,000 signatories requests that the Revised DraftSGEIS be withdrawn due to 17 critical concerns that threaten public health.See: http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/cuomo/coalition_letter/2011In short, your DOH Review cannot possibly support a decision whether to permitshale gas fracturing in New York. Its fatal flaws also cannot be eliminated even if Dr.Shah confers with investigators undertaking three shale gas studies that are yearsaway from completion. The DOH Review simply must be scrapped.Request That DOH Conduct a Formal Public Health ImpactStudy of HVHFGiven those fundamental inadequacies, we request that you now require HealthCommissioner Shah to undertake a comprehensive Public Health Impact Studyof HVHF in order to resolve the shortcomings of the Revised Draft SGEIS.This is clearly what the public believed Dr. Shah would be undertaking based onCommissioner Martens’ four stated goals. It also would implement the key policy hevoiced to rationalize undertaking the DOH Review:“While the review will be informed by outside perspectives on the science ofhydrofracking, the decision-making will remain a governmentalresponsibility.”
  3. 3. Public Participation Imperative for Proposed Public HealthImpact StudyIn order to make sure that the proposed DOH Study can fulfill its mandates, werequest that you require: 1) written public notice of the intent/scope of the Study; 2)at least a 30-day public comment period to afford ample opportunity for review andcomment and 3) at least one public hearing to allow interested parties to testifyabout how the Public Health Impact Study should be conducted.Those requests are consistent with the requests presented in four coalition letterswith more than 5,000 signatories:See: http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/letters/2013/02/24/public-...http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/documents/letters/2013/02/...http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/cuomo/gov-coalition-letter...http://www.toxicstargeting.com/MarcellusShale/letters/2012/11/28/cuomoProposed Scope of DOH Public Health Impact Study ofHVHFAt a minimum, the DOH Public Health Impact Study of HVHF must resolve all of thefundamental shortcomings of the Revised Draft SGEIS by documenting:A: The broad spectrum of toxic and persistent pollutants generated by HVHFactivities;B: The environmental fate and transport mechanisms associated with the toxic andpersistent pollutants generated by HVHF activities;C: Known and potential public exposures to toxic and persistent HVHF pollutants,including: contaminant concentrations; exposure duration; an assessment of allpotential public health consequences; andD: Whether the Draft SGEIS adequately safeguards public health from HVHF toxicpollution threats.Conclusion
  4. 4. Your existing DOH Review of HVHF has been conducted in secret without any publicinput. It cannot achieve its goals and must be scrapped.In order to fulfill your administration’s mandates for that proceeding, we request thatyou require your DOH to undertake the comprehensive Public Health ImpactStudy outlined herein. Until that Study is completed, we request that you withholdadoption of a Final SGEIS.We trust that you will find our request self-explanatory, but please do not hesitate tocontact us if you have any questions that we might be able to answer.Thank you for your consideration.Best regards,